ADHD, Dopamine, Blinking And Time Perception

Dopamine plays an important role in our brains by regulating the activity of the default mode and task related networks as well as being part of brain’s reward system. But dopamine levels also correlate with the rate of blinking which in turn changes our perception of time.

Time always flows at the same rate but our perception of time is different moment to moment. When we are relaxed, we perceive it as flowing slow and when we are more alert – as flowing fast. But what has the rate of blinking to do with it?

After each blink we reset our perception of time – the time feels to go by slower and so we overestimate how long something lasts. Thus, blinking less often leads to underestimating time intervals which means difficulties with time management – a well known issue for ADHD brain.

Since dopamine levels and the rate of blinking are correlated, low dopamine levels in ADHD brain mean low rate of blinking which in turn leads to underestimating how long something lasts. That’s how ADHD person ends up losing track of time and running late.

And since dopamine controls attention and dopamine and blinking are inextricably linked, blinking also relates to attention. Thus, one way of improving our ability to focus is to learn how often and when to blink and how to keep focus on a given visual target.



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