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Smartphone obsession leads to “phantom” vibrations, increased stress levels

Posted: , by Nick T.

Smartphone obsession leads to “phantom” vibrations, increased stress levels
Picture the following: you are expecting to receive an important text message or email on your smartphone. All of a sudden you feel that your handset is vibrating in your pocket informing you that it has been received. However, you take the device out only to realize that your imagination is playing games with you.

If the above scenario sounds familiar, you are actually not alone. In fact, a study conducted by the British Psychological Society reveals that many smartphone owners are so obsessed with their devices that they experience the so-called “phantom” vibrations.

Increased stress levels are said to be a primary cause for the phenomenon to occur. As a result, people tend to check their smartphones more and more often in anticipation for a new email, text, or social network message to be sent to them. However, that behavior was discovered to lead to even more stress for the smartphone user leading them into a vicious circle that is tough to escape from. 

Interestingly, the researchers point out that the majority of users suffering from the aforementioned “phantom” vibrations were the ones who received their smartphone from their employer, the point of that being increasing their productivity, of course. The paradox here is that instead of being beneficial to them, staying constantly connected to their work only brings more stress to those employees.

Have you ever experienced “phantom” vibrations? Feel free to let us know by dropping a comment.

27 Comments
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posted on 13 Jan 2012, 07:53 1

1. aar0983 (Posts: 51; Member since: 26 Sep 2011)


This has happened to me a few times but Im pretty laid back. No stress and I bought my own phone

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 08:02

2. pagusman (Posts: 8; Member since: 30 Jan 2011)


Yep, this has happened to me several times but as aar mentions, I don't feel stressed at all and I bought my own phone.

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 08:04

3. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1339; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


huge headache during classes , i have to pull it out to see nothing

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 08:13 1

4. drahmad (Posts: 478; Member since: 20 Aug 2011)


i am my own boss...no stresses.

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 08:24

5. ivanprskalo (Posts: 110; Member since: 09 Dec 2010)


I am all stresed, but I think smartphones are not to blame. I suffer from stress mainly caused by (other people's) stupidity!
But, phantom vibrations? I had those, last one (few) this morning as I recal.

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 08:39 1

6. T12RYK (Posts: 98; Member since: 10 Jun 2011)


This has happened to me a few times, when waiting to hear from a company about a job interview usually.
It doesn't help that everyones got the same iPhone ringtone and message too lol

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 08:42 1

7. fleanote (Posts: 50; Member since: 14 Jan 2011)


I have high stress and I vibrate...interesting study. When bending over, I hear/feel vibration in my midriff - makes me think my phone is with me and vibrating. Interesting.

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 08:45

8. McLTE (Posts: 689; Member since: 18 Oct 2011)


I have them all the time! where are my meds?!?!?! :P

Seriously.. some of it has to do with the phone itself.. My nexus vibrate is SO weak that it's very very difficult to tell when it is vibrating, which leads to anticipating it.. so, It's the phone!!

I say we create a focus group, organization or whatever to lobby the manufacturers to create a vibration standard.. coupled with these studies, we can set a standard for the manufacturers to create strong enough vibrations so none of us have to suffer from this most catastrophic malady.

Course, the girls may benefit from it too... :P

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 09:15 1

9. chunk1x (Posts: 248; Member since: 25 Jun 2011)


Too much sexting will do that.

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 09:24

10. CannedKarma (Posts: 19; Member since: 22 Oct 2011)


I've experienced this too. There's more than a few times I'll 'feel' the phone vibrating in my pocket when it's actually just sitting on my desk. Very strange. There doesn't seem to be any specific reason or stress level associated with it in my case.

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 10:20

11. Croxy (Posts: 55; Member since: 06 Dec 2011)


Damn, this happens to me all the time From now on I'm going to boost the volume up and try to kill this habbit

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 10:29 1

12. TKFox007 (Posts: 303; Member since: 02 Nov 2010)


I've heard phantom alert sounds. Not due to stress but sometimes I get a lot of emails in a day that I just expect to hear it.

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 11:50 1

13. awkward11598k (Posts: 10; Member since: 28 Dec 2011)


this only happens when you're waiting 4 "her" 2 text back

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 11:57

14. thephoneguy92 (Posts: 191; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


It's amazing how people will believe anything they read. If they were to say phantom vibrations were a cause of testicular cancer, you would all be rushing out to get checked. Phantom vibrations occur because you are so used to having vibrations in your pocket, that it just becomes natural, even when its not occuring. It has nothing to do with stress. Please stop posting absolutely ridiculous articles

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 14:24

16. kickyindahead (Posts: 2; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)


OMG .. phantom vibrations are caused by testicular cancer????? I better call the doctor immediately!!!!

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 13:16

15. Gotchafone (Posts: 23; Member since: 15 Nov 2011)


ITS THE ROBOTS TRYING TO MAKE US CRAZY!! I'm going out and buying 50 rolls of aluminum foil right now.

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 15:41

17. Scribed3d (Posts: 28; Member since: 08 Aug 2010)


Its Skynet watching us!

Ahem, seriously, yes, this has happened to me. Oddly, it happens most often when I am in the car.

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 16:23

18. bolaG (Posts: 468; Member since: 15 Aug 2011)


Yup. I'm guilty. Its only happened a couple of times though, in those exact situations the article cited; anxiously waiting for a text or email

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 18:11

19. DePenguin (Posts: 22; Member since: 13 Jan 2012)


I've never had phantom vibrations but the notification light on my nexus fools me sometimes. I have it set to different colors for each app and a lot of times it is flashing one color and i think it's a different color from the corner of my eye in anxiety of the text im expecting. But this only happens when im really interested in a texting convo or such.

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 18:18

20. GeekMovement (Posts: 1501; Member since: 09 Sep 2011)


i love phones.
i love phones..
i love phones...

i think i can call that an obsession lol, but I have not really experienced any of this phantom vibrations. perhaps i just didn't notice it because my phone is always with me.

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 19:13

21. SellPhones82 (Posts: 498; Member since: 11 Dec 2008)


This is pretty funny because this happens to me a lot and normally when I'm waiting for a reply or walking...I thought it was my leg twitching or I was going crazy so this is good to know! I'd think I have the average stress level of a 29 year old with two kids just grinding but maybe not...

posted on 13 Jan 2012, 21:35

22. JGuinan007 (Posts: 633; Member since: 19 May 2011)


I've had this happen to me when I didn't have my phone clipped to my belt I it happened alot so my next phone I didn't buy a clip and it hasn't happened since

posted on 14 Jan 2012, 07:42

23. refreak (Posts: 29; Member since: 18 Dec 2011)


i m not stressed at all, neither am i an employee, i am still at my college days but this keeps happening everyday eversince i got a phone...

posted on 14 Jan 2012, 11:15

24. cheeseycheeser (Posts: 382; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)


I love my phone! And this has definitley happened to me. I think more often then not when my phone ISN'T in my pocket!! Lol However, it's also partly because of the unbelievablely terrible vibration on my thunderbolt. You can hear it 10X better then you can feel it, and it's really frusturating. Typing with haptics on the keyboard SOUNDS ridiculous!!!

posted on 14 Jan 2012, 14:07

25. Abdul92 (Posts: 43; Member since: 23 Aug 2011)


Rarely do I get those. I bought my phone and I'm definitely not stressed because of my phone vibrations. Lol

posted on 14 Jan 2012, 21:54 1

26. CellularNinja (Posts: 302; Member since: 27 Sep 2011)


Yeah this happens to me alot, I am only 16 and I bought my own phone, but I definitely do feel like my phone is vibrating sometimes. Possibly because of anticipation, possibly because my phone has a weaker vibrate (Samsung Focus), and yes, often times because I'm talking to "her" haha

posted on 13 Jul 2012, 05:55

27. maddogs02 (Posts: 1; Member since: 13 Jul 2012)


I did not wear my Blackberry all the time and still had the sensations. I have not had them since I switched to the iPhone. I'm convinced it has something to do with the phones themselves and it's not a "brain thing."

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