Warning! Layman's question! =)

David Brockman Wheeler dwheeler at leland.Stanford.EDU
Thu Jan 5 15:07:09 EST 1995


In article <53129.caudle at irp.nidr.nih.gov>,
caudle at irp.nidr.nih.gov <caudle at irp.nidr.nih.gov> wrote:

>On 4 Jan 1995 19:06:16 GMT, 
>Tom Salyers  <at425 at yfn.ysu.edu> wrote:

>>  Greetings.  I'm trying to write a science fiction story in my spare time,
>>  My central question is this: is the human sense of passing time a factor
>>of neurochemistry? And if so, would it be possible (given the right level
>>of knowledge and technology, of course) to manufacture a drug that would
>>alter that sense--to make two years, for instance, feel like fifty?

>IMHO -  The passage of time is really a physical event rather than a 
>chemical one.

[SNIP]  

>Information is stored and then the decay is monitored to determine the passage
>of time.  

If this is indeed the mechanism then it would have a neurochemical basis...
or don't you believe that information storage involves chemical messengers?

>perceived to have passed can easily be altered by changing the rate at 
>which the stored information is lost.  In your clock, you could simply 
>replace the oscilator with one that has a different period.  In the brain 
>this sort of change in the rate of information decay appears to occur quite 
>regularly.  

In addition, I would suggest that external cues are very important in 
modulating any intrinsic timing mechanisms...

>For science fiction, however, it would be intriguing to implant some 
>electronic device in a critical region of the brain, say the locus ceruleus 
>(a region of the brain that interacts with almost all other regions), that 
>could alter time perception.

Therefore, I would couple this sort of device with isolation of the individual
in a highly controllable environment (perhaps within their own mind?) in which
external timing cues could be manipulated...

Interesting topic

David Wheeler





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