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

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.



1. aar0983

Posts: 51; Member since: Sep 26, 2011

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

2. pagusman

Posts: 8; Member since: Jan 30, 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.

3. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

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

4. drahmad

Posts: 480; Member since: Aug 20, 2011

i am my own stresses.

5. ivanprskalo

Posts: 124; Member since: Dec 09, 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.

6. T12RYK

Posts: 849; Member since: Jun 10, 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

7. fleanote

Posts: 50; Member since: Jan 14, 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.

8. McLTE

Posts: 922; Member since: Oct 18, 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

9. chunk1x

Posts: 248; Member since: Jun 25, 2011

Too much sexting will do that.

10. CannedKarma

Posts: 19; Member since: Oct 22, 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.

11. Croxy

Posts: 55; Member since: Dec 06, 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

12. TKFox007

Posts: 303; Member since: Nov 02, 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.

13. awkward11598k

Posts: 10; Member since: Dec 28, 2011

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

14. thephoneguy92

Posts: 191; Member since: Dec 29, 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

16. kickyindahead

Posts: 2; Member since: Jan 13, 2012

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

15. Gotchafone

Posts: 23; Member since: Nov 15, 2011

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

17. Scribed3d

Posts: 29; Member since: Aug 08, 2010

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

18. bolaG

Posts: 468; Member since: Aug 15, 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

19. DePenguin

Posts: 22; Member since: Jan 13, 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.

20. GeekMovement unregistered

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.

21. SellPhones82

Posts: 569; Member since: Dec 11, 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...

22. JGuinan007

Posts: 699; Member since: May 19, 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

23. refreak

Posts: 29; Member since: Dec 18, 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...

24. cheeseycheeser

Posts: 413; Member since: Mar 24, 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!!!

25. Abdul92

Posts: 43; Member since: Aug 23, 2011

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

26. CellularNinja

Posts: 306; Member since: Sep 27, 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

27. maddogs02

Posts: 1; Member since: Jul 13, 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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