Have you ever felt your phone vibrating in your pocket, pulled it out, and realized it wasn’t ringing? This is a phenomenon sociologists call the “phantom vibration syndrome”, or its other nicknames – hypovibochondria or ring-xiety. According to researchers at the University of Michigan Institute, it’s a sign of addiction.
In a 2012 study(1), in the Indiana University–Purdue University Fort Wayne, United States, published in the journal Computers and Human Behavior, researchers found that 89% of the 290 undergraduates surveyed reported feeling “phantom vibrations”, once every two weeks. Smartphones have not only changed our phone habits but have also shaped our brain behaviour.
Dr. Larry Rosen, a California State University professor, argues that phantom vibrations are a sign that constantly checking mobile devices may be a compulsive habit. Smartphones allow us to stay in touch with friends, but it’s this constant curiosity of knowing what they are doing or where they are, that tricks our brains into creating phantom vibrations.
In fact, researchers found that participants who were more conscious and emotionally stable were less dependent on their phones and, therefore, less likely to experience a false sense of vibrations. The personality tests, meanwhile, showed women to be more likely, on average, to exhibit symptoms of smartphone dependency. Moreover, researchers believe that these findings could provide evidence of a link between mobile phone addiction and mental health.
According to David Brudo, founder of Swedish mental health and well-being app Remente, the average person checks their phone 80 to 150 times a day, which is indeed very worrying.
If you want to get a clearer perception of how Phantom vibration syndrome affects its users` lives, watch the YouTube video down below.
(1) Drouin, M., Kaiser, D. H., & Miller, D. A. (2012). Phantom vibrations among undergraduates: Prevalence and associated psychological characteristics. Computers in Human Behavior, 28(4), 1490-1496.