Current views of the genesis of the event-related potential (ERP) contrast the phase-reset and evoked activity models. In the former, a portion of the ongoing electroencephalographic (EEG) activity becomes phase-locked at stimulus onset; in the latter, processing in the brain contributes additional time-locked activity at each trial. This study aimed to explore these perspectives in an auditory Go/NoGo task. The interactions between these processes were examined using the amplitudes and topographies of pre- and post-stimulus EEGs in traditional bands, and the averaged ERPs, together with time-frequency analysis. Results indicate that both evoked activity and phase locking of ongoing EEG activity contribute substantially to the different Go and NoGo ERP components. Phase locking contributes most strongly to the early exogenous ERP components, with evoked brain activity related to cognitive processing contributing strongly to the endogenous ERP components. Evidence also suggests that extensive phase realignments may generate the power increases associated with early exogenous components. It is concluded that exogenous ERP components arise substantially from phase-resetting mechanisms involving ongoing EEG activity. In contrast, the endogenous components are substantially produced by evoked activity in various frequency bands, and their differences reflect differential cortical processing required for appropriate responding to the Go vs. NoGo stimuli.