Tonic and phasic dopamine fluctuations in striatum differentially relate to variations in human time perception

Activity: Talk or presentation for an academic audienceOral presentation for an academic audience


Our perception of time shapes nearly all aspects of our conscious experience but human time perception is notoriously variable and prone to biases. Converging lines of evidence suggest a role for striatal dopamine in interval timing but this relationship remains unclear. Here we investigated how striatal dopamine relates to interval timing in patients with Parkinson’s disease undergoing deep brain stimulation. Using fast scan cyclic voltammetry (FSCV), we recorded the in-vivo electrochemical signal (at 10 Hz) during completion of a visual temporal bisection task (500-1100 ms). On each trial, patients classified the duration of a stimulus based on its similarity to short or long reference intervals which they learnt prior to the testing phase. Compared to controls, patients showed poorer temporal precision and both groups showed comparable accuracy. In patients, poorer temporal precision was associated with lower tonic dopamine levels and the phasic bursts of dopaminergic activity were associated with a tendency to underestimate temporal intervals. Our results demonstrate the significance of the striatal dopamine system in human time perception, showing that the steady-state tonic dopamine levels and the transient bursts of dopaminergic activity may play differential role in time perception. Altogether, these results help to advance current understanding of the neurochemical basis of how we perceive the passage of time.
Period5 Oct 2023
Event titleTiming Research Forum
Event typeConference
LocationLisbon, PortugalShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational