The bereitschaftspotential or motor readiness potential is a slow negative electroencephalographic wave occurring 150–1500 ms prior to the onset of a voluntary movement. It was measured in 33 subjects: 11 normal controls, 11 medicated schizophrenics with no tardive dyskinesia or evidence of drug-induced parkinsonism, and 11 patients with tardive dyskinesia. The bereitschaftspotential amplitude was more than two times larger in patients with tardive dyskinesia than in normal controls or schizophrenic patients without tardive dyskinesia. The increased amplitude correlated with the degree of severity of the tardive dyskinesia as measured on the Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale (AIMS). The finding of the increased bereitschaftspotential amplitude in tardive dyskinesia, taken together with earlier findings of low amplitude in Parkinson's disease, suggests that this potential may reflect the level of dopaminergic activity in the basal ganglia.