Phantom Vibration Syndrome

Phantom Vibration SyndromePhantom Vibration Syndrome

It has happened to many people. Feeling a vibration, they reach into their pockets wrongly believing that their mobile phones have just rung.

The phenomenon has a name: ‘phantom vibration syndrome’ – and is surprisingly common. Nine out of 10 people suffer from the syndrome - where they mistakenly think their mobile phone is vibrating in their pocket.

Scientists believe some are so alert for phone calls and messages that they misinterpret muscle spasms as proof of a call.

Robert Rosenberger, an assistant professor at the Georgia Tech Institute of Technology has studied the delusional calls.

He said sufferers describe a vague tingling feeling which they think is their mobile phone indicating it has received a text message or call while on ‘silent’, reports Daily Mail.

But when the device is retrieved, there was no one on the other end.

He finds so many people say, “This happens to me, but I thought I was the only one, I thought I was weird.”

It seems that the syndrome particularly affects people at the beck and call of mobile phones or pagers.

A 2010 study by Michael Rothberg and colleagues found that nearly 70% of doctors at a hospital in Massachusetts suffered phantom vibrations.

While the odd feeling is widespread, it does not seem to be considered a grave problem.

Rosenberger said, “It’s not actually a syndrome in a technical sense. That’s just the name that’s got stuck to it.” Only 2% of people consider it a problem, he added.

The scientific community has not yet invested in getting to the bottom of why we suffer phantom calls.

Rosenberger said: ‘People are guessing it has something to do with nervous energy. We have a phone call in our pocket all the time and it becomes sort of an extension of ourselves.”