Frontal visual evoked potentials (VEPs) were studied in order to extend the application of a recently introduced algorithm for selective averaging of evoked potentials. This algorithm is based on the inverse relationship between amplitudes of alpha or theta components of the spontaneous EEG activity and evoked potential (EP) amplitudes. Stimuli were only applied if the root mean square (RMS) value of the ongoing EEG at the lead F-4 was below an individual threshold level ('selective stimulation'). For this comparison, the EEG was filtered in one of the frequency ranges 'alpha', 'theta' and 'alpha and theta', respectively. 'Alpha' and 'alpha-and-theta-dependent' selective stimulation conditions resulted in significant amplitude increases (P < 0.05) at the input reference channel F-4 and partly at ipsihemispherical temporal and parietal leads and at Cz. The largest increase of 35% at F-4 (P < 0.01) was Obtained with visual stimulation during low prestimulus theta activity. We conclude that spontaneous theta activity of the frontal cortex may be a factor influencing the amplitudes of frontal VEPs. A sophisticated analysis of frontal EPs, mainly in the framework of cognitive studies, should consider the theta activity prior to stimulation. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.