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Thread: Phantom vibrations from your cell phone

  1. #1

    Phantom vibrations from your cell phone

    I don't know how many of you have experienced this. Perhaps people with spinal cord injury get this spontaneously without wearing cell phones... but about once a day, I would get what I would think is a vibration from one of the two cells phones on my belt. I reach to answer it, only to find that nobody has called me. I thought that this was just me until I saw this article which first was printed in USA Today (Source).

    Is it possible that I have set my brain threshold to a high level so that the sensation is ready to be triggered and sometimes it gets triggered? I like that explanation the best because it could be easily envisioned with a memory trace and a stimulus threshold.

    One person apparently gets this most when she is awaiting an important phone call (Source). Another links it to rumblings or other similar feelings evoked by other stimuli. What I am amazed by is how common it is and how many people describe the same phenomenon.

  2. #2
    That has happened to me a couple of times.
    More often though, I don't hear a real ring from deep in my pocket when I'm in the car and the vibration is disabled.
    - Richard

  3. #3
    This happened ALL the time, especially with my phone in my pocket..thought I was the only one/going crazy. Now, I will hear clear as day my ringtone when it isn't ringing.

  4. #4
    Wow, this is strange. I thought I had my own private insanity.

    I was attributing this to spinal edema and scarring. In the months following initial injury, my hips would feel as they were vibrating when I bent my neck & head down to look at the ground. I just assumed my almost daily "vibrations" were related to that, even though my neck may be straight. Thing is, I now only feel this vibration in my left front hip pocket where I keep my cell phone, and I feel the vibration when it's not in there as well.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Aly's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Radford, Va
    Now that I don't think I am crazy I will ask my friends if this happens to them also. Sometimes I will feel a vibration in my armrest thinking it is coming from my phone. I just attributed it to some vibration in the floor moving to my chair from the elevator or people rolling carts or something of that nature down the hall.
    The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same. ~ Don Juan Matus
    We are Virginia Tech… We must laugh again… No one deserves a tragedy… We are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid…We are better than we think and not quit what we want to be…We are the Hokies…We will prevail, we will prevail, we will prevail. We ARE Virginia Tech! ~ Nikki Giovanni

  6. #6
    i was getting them a lot for awhile. i was checking to see if i had a vm or test alert too. mine were on the opposite side than my injured side, weird i thought i was getting some nerve problems it was happening so much.
    i rarely get phone calls, so its weird.
    cauda equina

  7. #7
    Senior Member 6string's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    The Crossroads
    It happens to me a couple of times a day. I could never figure out why I could feel the vibration and not hear the ring. You mean there could be some scientific basis for this!?
    "Music will always find its way to us, with or without business, politics, religion, or any other bullshit attached. Music survives everything, and like God it is always present. It needs no help, and suffers no hindrance. It has always found me, and with God's blessing and permission, it always will." Eric Clapton

  8. #8
    Senior Member Max's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Montreal,Province of Quebec, CANADA

    Talking Cell-phone junkies befuddled by phantom vibes

    Cell-phone junkies befuddled by phantom vibes

    October 15, 2007

    Associated Press - NEW YORK (AP) — If your hipbone feels connected to your cell phone, or your ears ring even when your BlackBerry is not nearby, you are not alone.

    Many mobile-phone addicts and BlackBerry junkies report feeling vibrations when there are none, or feeling as if they're wearing a cell phone when they're not.

    The first time it happened to Jonathan Zaback, a manager at the public relations company Burson-Marsteller, he was out with friends and showing off his new BlackBerry Curve.

    "While they were looking at it, I felt this vibration on my side. I reached down to grab it and realized there was no BlackBerry there."

    Mr. Zaback —who said he keeps his BlackBerry by his bed while he sleeps, checks it if he gets up in the middle of the night and wakes to an alarm on the BlackBerry each day — said this didn't worry him.

    "As long as it doesn't mean a tumor is growing on my leg because of my BlackBerry, I'm fine with it," he said. "Some people have biological clocks, I might have a biological BlackBerry."

    Some users compare the feeling to a phantom limb, which Merriam-Webster's medical dictionary defines as "an often painful sensation of the presence of a limb that has been amputated."

    "Even when I don't have the BlackBerry physically on my person, I do find myself adjusting my posture when I sit to accommodate it," said Dawn Mean, an independent technology consultant based in Thousand Oaks, Calif. "I also laugh at myself as I reach to unclip it — I swear it's there — and find out I don't even have it on."

    Research in the area is scant, but theories abound about the phenomenon, which has been termed "ringxiety" or "fauxcellarm."

    Anecdotal evidence suggests "people feel the phone is part of them" and "they're not whole" without their phones because the phones connect them to the world, said B.J. Fogg, director of research and design at Stanford University's Persuasive Technology Lab.

    "As human beings, we're so tapped in to our community — responsiveness to what's going on. We're so attuned to the threat of isolation and rejection, we'd rather make a mistake than miss a call," he said. "Our brain is going to be scanning and scanning and scanning to see if we have to respond socially to someone."

    In certain circles, phantom vibrations are a point of pride.

    "Of course I get them," said Fred Wilson, a managing partner of Union Square Ventures, an early-stage venture-capital firm based in New York. "I've been getting them for over 10 years since I started with the pager-style BlackBerry."

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