The Vibration Is In Your Head

Posted: 02/17/2009 by that's Elbert in News & Politics
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Have you ever thought your cell phone was vibrating but it really wasn’t? Apparently you are not alone. That “phantom cell phone vibration” is something many have experienced. From KARE:

Paul Schrater Ph.D. of the University of Minnesota’s Psychology and Computer Science Department says there’s been no formal studies of the phenomenon, but he offers a pretty good theory for phones that seemingly vibrate in a pocket when no one is calling.

“Perception is in the brain,” he says.  “Whatever comes into the brain is what we perceive.”

Schrater says cell phone users in essence train their brains to anticipate vibration from whatever part of the body they carry their phone.  In time the brain starts to over-anticipate, picking up all sorts of cues.

Dr. Schrater makes a lot of scene. For all the times it happened to me, I thought I was crazy or something. At one point I thought the anti-seizure meds weren’t working. Looks like my brain just anticipates the vibe. But maybe it’s picking up all the people that wanted to call me but didn’t. If that were the case, I would never get off the phone.

Average Girl responded on Twitter to the article:

I [thought] was the only one too. Mine would happen when I was washing dishes – you know when you really can’t answer.

So if an “average girl” experiences this, then I know I’m in normal company.

Hat tip to Randy at This Is True for the story.

  1. Cliff says:

    I don’t keep my phone on me, but even 10 years after getting rid of my pager, I still panic everytime I reach down and it’s not there. I feel naked without it.

    Kinda like pushing up phantom glasses that I also haven’t worn for 8 years, guess after 20 years of wearing them you get in the habit.