vibrazioni fantasma cellulare

Why Do We Feel Our Phone Vibrating When It Doesn’t? The Psychology of “Phantom Vibration”

If you have ever heard “ghost” vibrations coming from your cell phone – that is, the perception that occurs when we feel like our smartphone is vibrating or ringing when in reality it is not – know that you are in good company. According to a study, this phenomenon affected 80% of participants and evidently this data is not far from reality, since many of us have had a similar experience at least once in our lives. In some cases, these “phantom vibrations” could be due to the smartphone and social network addictionwhich makes you hypersensitive to rewarding stimuli.

What is Phantom Vibration Syndrome?

There Phantom Vibration Syndromealso known as ringxiety, fauxcellarm or phonetomis that particular sensation that makes a person believe that their cell phone is vibrating or ringing, even when in reality it is not. According to Dr. Michael Rothbergthis is not actually a syndrome, but rather it would be more appropriate to define it as tactile hallucination. In other words, the brain perceives a sensation that does not actually exist.

The causes of phantom vibrations are not yet clear, although several studies suggest that it may be a excessive use of cell phone to trigger the phenomenon. Vibrations usually begin to appear after one or more months of intense use of the phone. It may happen that the cerebral cortex completely misinterprets other sensory stimuli – for example physiological muscle contractions – making the person affected by the tactile hallucination believe that these are actually vibrations coming from the phone.

Daniel Krugera researcher at the University of Michigan, suggests that phantom vibrations are a clear symptom of cell phone addiction. Kruger, in fact, stated:

When people are addicted, there is a phenomenon where they are hypersensitive to stimuli associated with a rewarding stimulus. This study provides real insight and perhaps some evidence that people can be truly addicted to cell phone use.

People with this condition feel anxious about rings, vibrations or notifications that are not there. This phenomenon is due to our sensitivity to tones between 1000 and 6000 Hzthe range that cell phone ringtones often fall into.


How to Fight Technology Addiction

If you find that you are particularly prone to the phenomenon of ringxiety due to a possible technology addictiontry to implement the following suggestions, naturally also evaluating the possibility of being followed by a good psychotherapist who can support you in your journey of digital detox.

  1. Turn off notifications: the continuous reception of notifications inevitably leads to more use of the smartphone and, therefore, to encounter the phenomenon of phantom vibration. By deactivating unnecessary notifications (such as those from social networks) you may experience a reduction in the phenomenon.
  2. Activate usage restriction features: On iPhone, many Android smartphones, and various social networking apps, you can activate functions that limit the use of your phone and/or your social media accounts once a certain usage threshold has been reached.
  3. Get bored again: As difficult as it may be, rediscovering the value of boredom can allow our brain to rework the large amount of information it stores every day. To use the words of Cal Newportassociate professor at Georgetown University, «If you only expose yourself to interesting information and feed yourself with stimuli, but don’t take the time to really think (…) you are probably only getting a small part of their potential value».