The ultradian dynamics of the human waking EEG was studied using a short visual fixation task repeated every 10 min throughout the daytime. The EEG spectra obtained from the tasks were assessed for time effect and ultradian periodicity. Fronto-central EEG high frequency powers (22.5-44.5 Hz) decreased at the time of the midafternoon vigilance dip (14.00-17.00 h) along with slight concomitant increases in parietal alpha (7.5-13.5 Hz) and delta (1-3 Hz) powers. A slow ultradian rhythm with a 3-4 h periodicity strongly modulated EEG power in all frequency bands between 1 and 44.5 Hz. The high frequency waking EEG may well reflect the activity of a brain arousal process underlying maintenance of the waking state probably throughout the 24 h cycle.