Whether in performing dance steps, playing video games, singing, or pursuing love interest, timing is a significant factor in accomplishing tasks. Just like what they say, "timing is everything," but there are people who just really have bad timing. Sometimes, it can be frustrating, and experts say, if you're one of those, it's probably because of your dopamine.
Researchers at the Champalimaud Centre for the Unknown in Lisbon, Portugal, conducted the tests to know the connection of dopamine neurons in time approximation.
The team performed tests in mice, and monitored their dopamine neurons while the mice were trained to complete timed tasks. They found out that stimulation and inhibition of dopamine neurons can speed up or slow down time estimation.
“This result, together with the naturally occurring signals we observed in the previous experiments, demonstrate that the activity of these [dopamine] neurons was sufficient to alter the way the animals judged the passage of time. This was the major result of our study,” explained Dr. Joe Paton, corresponding author of the study, published in the journal Science
However, researchers say that it's not yet definite if this study can be extrapolated to humans.
“When we study animals, the only thing we can measure is the animal’s behavior. But we are never sure of what they perceive. We interpret this as ‘a subjective experience of the animal,’ but it’s no more than an interpretation. And that’s the best we can do.”
Experts speculate, though, that this study may be the reason why people with irregular levels of dopamine may not accurately estimate periods of time. Such as, people in love, or depressed individuals, may not notice time passing.