Warning! Layman's question! =)

Pieter Unema pjau at arbw3.kf.TU-Berlin.DE
Mon Jan 9 04:06:24 EST 1995

Tom Salyers (at425 at yfn.ysu.edu) wrote:

:   Greetings.  I'm trying to write a science fiction story in my spare time,
: but I can't seem to find the research material I need in the local university
: library.
:   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?
:   Any and all advice or pointers to reference material (not *too* technical,
: please--my training's in computer science, not neurology) will be greatly
: appreciated.

: -- 
: Tom Salyers                "Now is the Windows of our disk contents
: IRCnick: Aqualung           made glorious SimEarth by this Sun of Zork."
 Denver, CO                                    ---Richard v3.0

  If you insist, you might want to consider this (but don't quote me
  quoting this quote from J.A. Gray and J.N.P. Rawlins:

  [quote] It is now well established that the theta rhythm is generated
          in at two locations in the hippocampal foormation (in CA1 and
          the dentate gyrus[..]) and at another location in the entorhi-
,         nal cortex[..], and that these generators are under the con-
          trol of pacemaker cells in the medial septal area. The func-
          tional significance of theta remains an enigma, however.


          Vinogradova (1975) and O'Keefe have suggested that the func-
          tion of theta is to quantize time with respect to the 
          passage of different items of information through the SHS
          (=septohippocampal system, PU).
          An alternative hypothesis is that theta paces the passage
          of successive items of information around all the loops
          that make up the SHS and the Papez-circuit.

          ..there are two types of theta. The first (atropine- resis-
          tant) type is associated with movement.[..].The second (atro-
          pine sensitive) is not associated with movement, and may be
          blocked by systemic anticholinergics, and is of relatively
          low frequency

  Mind you, the theta rhythm is an electrocortically measurable rhythm
  of around 7.7 Hz. Gray and Rawlins do not, however, explicitly asso-
  ciate the theta rhythm with time perception. It is up to you to 
  abuse this kind of information :-)

  Gray, J.A., and Rawlins, J.N.P.: Comparator and Buffer Memory. An
        Attempt to Integrate two Models of Hippocampal Function. In:
        R.L. Isaacson and K.H. Pribram (Eds.): The Hippocampus (Vol.4).
        Plenum Press, New York and London.

  PS: Send me a copy of your story. I love SF.


  Pieter Unema
  Institut fuer Arbeitswissenschaft
  Technical University of Berlin


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