Abstract We explored the evidence for a quantitative trait locus (QTL)-specific genotype × alcoholism interaction for an evoked electroencephalogram theta band oscillation (ERP) phenotype on a region of chromosome 7 in participants of the US Collaborative Study on the Genetics of Alcoholism. Among 901 participants with both genotype and phenotype data available, we performed variance component linkage analysis (SOLAR version 2.1.2) in the full sample and stratified by DSM-III-R and Feighner-definite alcoholism categories. The heritability of the ERP phenotype after adjusting for age and sex effects in the combined sample and in the alcoholism classification sub-groups ranged from 40% to 66%. Linkage on chromosome 7 was identified at 158 cM (LOD = 3.8) in the full sample and at 108 in the non-alcoholic subgroup (LOD = 3.1). Further, we detected QTL-specific genotype × alcoholism interaction at these loci. This work demonstrates the importance of considering the complexity of common complex traits in our search for genes that predispose to alcoholism.