Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was used to investigate the spatial distribution of cortical activation in frontal and parietal lobes during auditory and visual oddball tasks in 10 healthy subjects. The purpose of the study was to compare activation within auditory and visual modalities and identify common patterns of activation across these modalities. Each subject was scanned eight times, four times each for the auditory and visual conditions. The tasks consisted of a series of trials presented every 1500 ms of which 4-6% were target trials. Subjects kept a silent count of the number of targets detected during each scan. The data were analyzed by correlating the fMRI signal response of each pixel to a reference hemodynamic response function that modeled expected responses to each target stimulus. The auditory and visual targets produced target-related activation in frontal and parietal cortices with high spatial overlap particularly in the middle frontal gyrus and in the anterior cingulate. Similar convergence zones were detected in parietal cortex. Temporal differences were detected in the onset of the activation in frontal and parietal areas with an earlier onset in parietal areas than in the middle frontal areas. Based on consistent findings with previous event-related oddball tasks, the high degree of spatial overlap in frontal and parietal areas appears to be due to modality independent or amodal processes related to procedural aspects of the tasks that may involve memory updating and non-specific response organization.