The synthesis and pharmacological properties of novel conformationally restricted arylpiperazine (2b-4b) or 1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline (5b and 6b) derivatives of the known, flexible 5-HT(1A) receptor ligands 2a-6a (K(i)=0.95-7 nM) with different intrinsic activities are reported. Replacement of a tetramethylene chain with a 1e,4e-disubstituted cyclohexane ring in the structure of flexible ligands resulted in insignificant diminution of the 5-HT(1A) receptor affinity in the case of 2b-4b (K(i)=15-52 nM), whereas derivatives 5b and 6b were practically inactive (K(i)>1354 nM). The results of in vivo behavioural tests showed that 2a and 3a acted as postsynaptic 5-HT(1A) receptor partial agonists. Like the flexible 4a, the new rigid compounds 2b-4b showed features of postsynaptic 5-HT(1A) receptor antagonists. Since all possible conformations of the constrained compounds belong to an extended family--as indicated by molecular modelling studies--our hypothesis that such conformations are responsible for the blockade of postsynaptic 5-HT(1A) receptors has been confirmed. Determination of regions explored by terminal amide, or imide and hydrocarbon groups of the restricted compounds as well as the results of in vitro and in vivo studies allowed us to discuss the bioactive conformations of flexible ligands.