Recordings directly within the brain can establish local evoked potential generation without the ambiguities always associated with extracranial electromagnetic measures. Depth recordings have found that sensory stimuli activate primary cortex and then material-specific encoders. Sensory-specific areas remain active for long periods, but by about 200 ms are joined by activation in widespread brain systems. One system is related to the orientation of attention. It is centered in paralimbic and attentional frontoparietocingular cortex, and associated with the P3a. A second system associated with P3b envelopes cognitive contextual integration. It engages the ventral temporofrontal event-encoding cortices (inferotemporal, perirhinal, and ventrolateral prefrontal), association cortices (superior temporal sulcal and posterior parietal), and the hippocampus. Thus, even in simple tasks, activation is widespread but concentrated in particular multilobar systems. With this information, the late cognitive potentials can be used to monitor the probable location, timing and intensity of brain activation during cognitive tasks.