Evoked cortical responses to two kinds of auditory stimuli (rare and frequent) were analyzed to determine whether or not a K-complex evoked in stage 2 of NREM sleep is accompanied by some endogenous cognitive components of the event-related potential. All the 7 subjects examined in this sleep state failed to provide the correct behavioral response to auditory stimuli, but a K-complex was evoked more frequently by rare stimuli than by frequent stimuli. EEG segments in stage 2 were averaged separately according to the presence or absence of K-complexes emerging just after the stimulation. In cases where K-complexes did not emerge, a long-lasting negative potential of relatively low voltage appeared in the difference wave, which was obtained by subtracting the averaged EEG for frequent stimuli from that for rare stimuli. In cases where K-complexes emerged, a similar long-lasting negative potential of large amplitude appeared in the difference wave. These data may indicate that a K-complex evoked by an external stimulus is accompanied by a potential related to a cognitive process, which appears with greater amplitude in cases where a K-complex is evoked.