Episode 29

Time Perception and Dopamine


October 12th, 2020

29 mins 51 secs

Season 2

Your Hosts

About this Episode

In this half-hour episode, Rolf and Joe discuss research by Jennifer Mitchell and colleagues ("Dopamine, time perception, and future time perspective") showing that the drug tolcapone, which selectively increases dopamine in frontal cortical regions, has the effect of reducing the error in estimating how much time has passed. Individuals tend to systematicaly underestimate how much time has passed (think of impatient kids asking "are we there yet?"), and in this double-blind study, tolcapone nearly eliminated this effect, most dramatically for a 60 second interval.

Implications of the study are discussed, including what this says about an "internal clock", whether you should rush to get this drug, and how time perception is related to depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. We do not discuss the role of tolcapone in ending the world.

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