Recent findings from event-related potential (ERP) as well as hemodynamic studies have provided physiological evidence that recognition memory involves task-related brain processes, notably episodic retrieval mode, and item-related brain processes, notably retrieval success or ecphory. The excellent time resolution of electromagnetic techniques allows to study the time course of these processes on a time range from milliseconds to several seconds. In a series of studies, the time scales within which task- and item-related processes are likely to operate were investigated. The results raise the possibility that both types of processes are further fractionable into short and longlasting components. The cognitive underpinnings of these components have yet to be determined.