In the present study, we examined the hypothesis that episodic encoding and retrieval processes are primarily reflected by a task-related increase in theta power. Individuals performed a recognition task with a total of 192 words. The electroencephalogram was recorded during the study and recognition phase. The results show that only those words that were later correctly recognized produced a significant increase in theta power during encoding. During the actual recognition processes too, a significant theta synchronization (increase in band power) was found for correctly remembered words only. In contrast to the theta band, remembered and not remembered words revealed a complex pattern of desynchronization in the lower and upper alpha band that was different during encoding and recognition.