The present study captures the dynamics of neural processing across positively contingent, negatively contingent, and noncontingent relations. In the setting of a hypothetical chat room conversation, participants rated the contingency of emotional response between two individuals. Event-related potentials (ERPs) were time-locked to the onset of each emotional event. Although each event alone was ambiguous regarding contingency, its neural response was characteristic of the overall contingent relation and the subsequent contingency rating. Very early displays of contingency modified the ERP anterior N1 (AN1) component amplitude. In contrast, the ERP selection negativity (SN) component amplitude seemed to be more sensitive to display properties than contingency. Our results point to the recruitment of early attentional processes for contingency judgement and highlight the efficiency of statistical information processing.