This study used the high spatial and temporal resolution of the event-related optical signal (EROS) to investigate the timing of neuronal activity in frontal cortex during auditory target detection and passive oddball tasks. Activation in right middle frontal gyrus (MFG) peaked approximately 350 ms following rare target tones. This corresponded closely to the latency of the simultaneously recorded electrical P3 component. In addition, we found activation in left lateral MFG peaking at approximately 130 ms following tone onset for conditions that may have required response inhibition. These results correspond with activation patterns observed in similar fMRI studies, but provide temporal tags for the activated locations. These data may help bridge the gap between electrophysiological and hemodynamic measures of target detection and contribute to our understanding of the spatiotemporal dynamics of brain activity during target processing.