We report genetic linkage and association findings which implicate the gene encoding the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor M2 (CHRM2) in the modulation of a scalp-recorded electrophysiological phenotype. The P3 (P300) response was evoked using a three-stimulus visual oddball paradigm and a phenotype that relates to the energy in the theta band (4-5 Hz) was analyzed. Studies have shown that similar electrophysiological measures represent cognitive correlates of attention, working memory, and response selection; a role has been suggested for the ascending cholinergic pathway in the same functions. The results of our genetic association tests, combined with knowledge regarding the presence of presynaptic cholinergic M2 autoreceptors in the basal forebrain, indicate that the cognitive processes required by the experiment may in part be mediated by inhibitory neural networks. These findings underscore the utility of electrophysiology and neurogenetics in the understanding of cognitive function and the study of brain-related disorders.