Ever reach for your vibrating smartphone in your pocket, only to find it didn’t buzz at all?
You’re not alone.
It’s called “phantom vibration syndrome” — yes, it’s a real psychological phenomenon — and studies in the past few years have found, when surveying college undergraduates, that the majority experience a “phantom vibration” once every two weeks.
Georgia Tech School of Public Policy professor Robert Rosenberger explains the phenomenon in a recent video.
He calls it a real hallucination, and chalks it up to our phones giving us a new “learned bodily habit.”
“The phone actually becomes a part of you, and you become trained to perceive the phone’s vibrations as an incoming call or text,” Rosenberger explains. “Due to these kinds of habits, it becomes really easy to misperceive other similar sensations.”
So if your phone shifts in your pocket, your pants brush up against something or you have a quick muscle spasm in your leg, it’s easy to think it’s a vibration and eagerly grab for your device — only to find no one’s calling.
Bottom line: One emoji at a time, our smartphones are training us. That’s not scary at all.