High frequency stimulation (HFS) of the subthalamic nucleus (STN) reduces parkinsonian symptoms in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP)-treated monkey and in human patients. The effects of stimulation on normal waking primates have never been evaluated. While low frequency stimulation has no effect, HFS induces dyskinesias contralateral to the stimulated STN resembling human hemiballismus and those obtained in primates after neurotoxic lesion or pharmacological blockade of the STN. In the normal monkey, HFS appears reversibly to incapacitate the STN and allow the emergence of involuntary proximal displacements, due to disinhibition of the thalamo-cortical pathway. In the MPTP-treated monkey HFS buffers STN overactivity and alleviates akinesia and rigidity by reducing inputs to the internal segment of the globus pallidus.