Recognition memory was examined for visual affective stimuli using behavioral and event-related brain potential (ERP) measures. Images from the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) that varied systematically in arousal level (low, high) and valence direction (unpleasant, pleasant) were first viewed passively. Then, during a response phase, the original images were intermixed with an equal number of new images and presented, and participants were instructed to press a button to indicate whether each stimulus picture was previously viewed (target) or new (foil). Participants were more sensitive to unpleasant- than to pleasant-valence stimuli and were biased to respond to high-arousal unpleasant stimuli as targets, whether the stimuli were previously viewed or new. Response times (RTs) to target stimuli were systematically affected by valence, whereas RTs to foil stimuli were influenced by arousal level. ERP component amplitudes were generally larger for high than for low arousal levels. The P300 (late positive component) amplitude was largest for high-arousal unpleasant target images. These and other amplitude effects suggest that high-arousal unpleasant stimuli engage a privileged memory-processing route during stimulus processing. Theoretical relationships between affective and memory processes are discussed.