Last updated July 7, 2017 at 5:14 pm
You’re sitting at your desk beavering away with your phone next to you (on silent because you’re not one of *those* people in an office) when your ears prick up – you’ve just heard it vibrate from an incoming message. You grab your phone to see… only to find no message waiting. And no missed call.
You’ve just experienced a phantom buzz.
You’re probably wondering about now whether it’s your phone playing up or if it’s you. Bad news – it’s probably you.
Over 80 percent of US college students have admitted to having had a phantom ring, however the question has always been why it seems to happen to some people more than others. And to answer it, a survey of 750 undergrad students found what you were probably expecting.
People who had more phantom phone events also had higher levels of mobile phone dependency. They used their phones more often to make themselves feel better, they thought about using their phone when they weren’t on it, and they got irritable if they couldn’t use it. And it’s likely that need and desire to be interacting with the phone, and feeling connected with people on the other end, might be driving these phantom buzzes.
So in other words – they have such a strong need to be connected to other people via their phone that their brain is hyperaware of their phone and creates more false alarms.
It’s this reliance on our mobile phones for staying connected in our social circles which is why these studies are important – as our lives become more intertwined with tech we need to work out how it’s affecting us personally and socially to maximise the positives yet minimise the negative effects.