The P300 event related potential (ERP) was elicited from young adults at low- (LR) and high-risk (HR) for alcoholism (n = 24/risk group), with equal numbers of male and female subjects employed. The effects of stimulus modality, task difficulty, and gender were assessed with analogous auditory and visual paradigms (tone location/head rotation and tone matching/shape matching). Although task performance was generally comparable across risk groups, LR subjects produced smaller P300 amplitudes than HR subjects for the visual matching tasks. No consistent risk group P300 latency effects were obtained. Gender, task difficulty, and scalp topography differentially modulated the risk group outcomes across paradigms. These findings suggest that P300 amplitude reflects risk-for-alcoholism in male and female young adults, but the specific task conditions and electrode location affect the strength of risk group differences.