Time Perception & Entrainment by Dopamine, Serotonin & Hormones | Huberman Lab Podcast #46

In this episode, I discuss how our brain and body track time and the role that neurochemicals, in particular dopamine and serotonin, but also hormones such as melatonin, allow us to orient ourselves in time. I review the three types of time perception: of the past, of the present, and the future, and how dopamine and serotonin adjust both our perception of the speed of the passage of time and our memory of how long previous experiences lasted. I also discuss circannual entrainment, which is the process by which our brain and body are matched to the seasons, and circadian (24 hours) entrainment, both of which subconsciously adjust our perceived measurement of time. I explain the mechanisms of that subconscious control. And I cover the ultradian (90 minutes) rhythms that govern our ability to focus, including how to track when these 90-minute rhythms begin and end for the sake of work and productivity. I include ten tools based on the science of time perception that you can apply to enhance productivity, creativity, and relationships in various contexts.

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00:00:00 Introducing Time Perception, Note on Fasting & Supplements
00:05:12 Sponsors: ROKA, Athletic Greens, InsideTracker
00:09:25 Entrainment, Circannual Entrainment, Melatonin
00:13:20 Seasonal Oscillations in Testosterone & Estrogen, Tool 1
00:16:06 Circadian Timing, Tools 1, 2, 3 (for Circadian Entrainment)
00:21:13 Tool 4: Timing Physical Activity; Tool 5: Timing Eating Window
00:23:00 When Circadian Entrainment is Disrupted, Time Perception Suffers
00:25:00 Tool 6: Ultradian (90min) Cycles & Focus
00:31:42 Our Sense of the Passage of Time: Present, Prospective, Retrospective
00:34:40 Dopamine (& Nor/epinephrine) Lead to Time Overestimation; Frame Rate
00:37:18 Serotonin & Time Underestimation; Decreased Frame Rate
00:39:10 Dopamine vs. Serotonin Across the Day; Tool 7: When to Do Rigid vs. Creative Work
00:42:38 Example of Tool 7
00:43:38 How Sleep Deprivation Degrades Performance
00:44:38 Trauma, “Over-clocking” & Memories; Adjusting Rates of Experience
00:50:04 Why Trauma Involves Dopamine & Epinephrine, Arousal
00:51:03 Dopamine, Spontaneous Blinking & Time Perception; Tool 8
00:53:38 Deliberate Cold Exposure, Dopamine, Tool 9: Adjusting Frame Rate in Discomfort
00:56:30 Fun “Feels Fast” BUT Is Remembered as Slow; Boring Stuff “Feels Slow,” Recall As Fast
01:00:54 Retrospective Time, Context Variation & Enhanced Bonding with Places & People
01:03:00 Dopamine Release Resets the Start of Each Time Bin on Our Experience
01:07:40 Habits & Time Perception; Tool 10 (Setting Functional Units of Each Day)
01:11:58 Synthesis & Book Suggestion (Your Brain Is a Time Machine by D. Buonomano)
01:12:27 Supporting the HLP: Subscribe, Instagram, Patreon, Thorne Supplements

Please note that The Huberman Lab Podcast is distinct from Dr. Huberman's teaching and research roles at Stanford University School of Medicine. The information provided in this show is not medical advice, nor should it be taken or applied as a replacement for medical advice. The Huberman Lab Podcast, its employees, guests and affiliates assume no liability for the application of the information discussed.

Title Card Photo Credit: Mike Blabac - https://www.blabacphoto.com
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