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One thing that has certainly changed in recent years is the number and type of notifications I get on my phone. Five years ago, the majority of my notifications were new text messages. Today, I get a number of notifications from text messages, emails, Twitter, Facebook, Path and a plethora of other applications I've acquired over the years.

What this has created, as Alexia Tsotsis of TechCrunch stated yesterday, is a nation of phone starers. My friends, myself and literally everyone I know can be caught staring at their phone several times every few minutes. Even my grandmother, who I recently gave an iPhone, can be caught sneaking a peek at her phone every now and then. It's a compulsive habit that's terribly difficult to break.

On average, I would guess that I check my phone at least once every two or three minutes. Regardless of any new notifications, I will take that time to check Twitter, Facebook and any other important networks.

Coming from GeekSugar, a recent study performed by the University of Worchester suggests that the constantly-connected world we live in is stress-inducing and makes many of us feel as if we simply cannot disconnect. But the more interesting factoid found by the study was that volunteers that participated in the study admit that they check their phone once, twice, even three times for notifications that never happened. These false notifications are more commonly known as phantom vibrations.

Phantom vibrations are nothing new. I remember hearing a report on it from my favorite local news station when I was in high school, and it is something that has plagued me since my early cell phone days. When I texted like a madman, I would compulsively check my phone for any notifications that I may have missed. But I certainly recall "feeling" a vibration on my thigh when my phone was pocketed, and checking my phone, only to find that there were no new notifications.

What's worse is how it has increased over time. I now carry two phones, minimum, and I am much more connected. More networks, more connections and more accounts all around means more notifications, more vibrations and more false checks on my part. And turning vibrate off and relying on notifications doesn't help. If I use ringtones instead of vibrate, I "think" I hear a chime and still check for new messages, unsure whether the phone actually made a sound.

Likewise, I have also been in a crowded room where someone has chose the same ringtone as I have; I could distinctly tell the ringtone came from across the room and did not come from my phone, but I felt compelled to check my own phone anyway ... just in case. There have also been several times I can recall where I had my phone in hand and it has inexplicably vibrated.

It's funny, odd and interesting to see the ways that these pocket-sized computers have affected our lives and changed our behavior. For me, it has gotten to the point where I feel the need to disconnect and turn off my notifications almost on a nightly basis. When I am done working, I usually switch my phones to silent, turn them face-down and attempt to forget about them. It doesn't usually work, but it's an effort nonetheless.

Tell me, ladies and gents. Do any of you suffer from phantom vibrations and the compulsive need to check your phone every couple minutes? Does your phone ever actually vibrate, even when there are no new notifications? Does it ever get to be too much and force you to disconnect or switch your phone to silent?


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"Do you experience phantom vibrations?"


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Francesco Vincent Parisi Noeske
Francesco Vincent Parisi Noeske No, but sometimes i hear phantom ringtones
Adam Evans
Adam Evans I have a Samsung,.... so it pretty,much fouls up all the time! Galaxy S is horrendous for random restarts, vibratea w/o reasons and call issues(more like no call issues). And this is even after being replaced by phone carrier. I do get random phantom vibrates though, here and there on the few days I may forget my phone. Very rare though.
Arthur Lott
Arthur Lott Yes!! All the time!!
David Spalding
David Spalding I have to pick my notification sounds carefully. I might go for voice alerts. "More Facebook crap. " "Email to that mailbox you ignore." "Voice mail, nothing to see here, keep working. " I wonder if Stephen Fry has recorded any as Jeeves. "
Derek Almond
Derek Almond Never!
Anthony Andrade
Anthony Andrade I think my phone is ringing more than it actually does. When I don't think it's ringing it is and that means I missed a call.:(
Colin DeMeritt
Colin DeMeritt Yes on my iPhone 4s
Shawn Sedha
Shawn Sedha All the time !!
Kyle Forest
Kyle Forest This is stupid, It's called "boredom" you look at your phone instead of looking at nothing. It's like when everyone starts doing something someone retarded says hey this is bad! Yeah or its something good and that's why everyone does it. Hmm I'm waiting in line, instead of staring off into space ill do something on my phone. This article is absurd.
Charlie Medeiros
Charlie Medeiros I swear I got it on every other phone I've had including my current iPhone 4S!
Ryan DeClue
Ryan DeClue Yes!!!
Basil Mahmud
Basil Mahmud All the time!!! I thought it was just me!
Hubert John Abiera
Hubert John Abiera I check my phone when I get bored, not as frequently as the rate of once every three minutes like the author wrote. Also, I don't really feel phantom vibrations, unless you count accidentally rubbing my bag onto my pocket and thinking it was my phone.
Daniel Cuadrado
Daniel Cuadrado Never. I keep all notifications turned off except email and text.
Joshua G. Franco
Joshua G. Franco Check out my video .. Siri tired of Franco asking so many questions.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPghgNbVz7g&sns=em
Zach Cline
Zach Cline STFU douchebag
Danu Carrión Perales
Danu Carrión Perales I love how there are MORONS in here pointing out how typical it is to happen because the OS is buggy when this article clearly is stating that it is psychological and not that the phone randomly vibrates. .. good job you can't even read you good for nothing dumb asses
Denis Zahirovic
Denis Zahirovic Yes..once or twice a week
Max Abir
Max Abir All the time, really hate if it happen during a scary movie
Joe Hernandez
Joe Hernandez Yup not as frequent lately.
Brian Edson
Brian Edson that awkward moment when i feel a buzz in my pocket but my phone is in my hand o_O
Zach Cline
Zach Cline Nope. Not unless I accidentally hit the mute/ vibrate switch.
Jason Renfro
Jason Renfro I used to feel all vibrations ..... Until I took an arrow to the knee
Matthew Ryan Vargas
Matthew Ryan Vargas Its psychological
Stephen Gunnoe
Stephen Gunnoe Constantly. But that may be the meth.
X-ray Cat
X-ray Cat happens to me with no phone in pockets!!! I thought I started to develop spidy senses
Cesar Esparza
Cesar Esparza No never
Brandon Moore
Brandon Moore Yes all the time
Cathie Sherman
Cathie Sherman Thought I was going nuts!! Lol
Mark Fetters
Mark Fetters Yes on my iPhone I do I could swear it had just vibrated but I had no notification sometimes i can even hear it vibrate on a table and nothing
Andrew Midkiff
Andrew Midkiff I think my phone is ringing when it is not but then it usually does start ringing after the fact.... I think I have phone E.S.P. 0.0
Cristian Tomasito
Cristian Tomasito Typical android, no matter how you dress it up. Its open source software will always have bugs and force close and random reboots.
Konner Shea
Konner Shea I used to when I had an iPhone. But with any android or windows phone device I have had, I never feel it.
Mike Kennedy
Mike Kennedy My girlfriend loves her Android and she doesn't mind the vibrations
Brandon Cote
Brandon Cote Ugh, a few times a day
Greg Stone
Greg Stone So true
Terry Mac
Terry Mac All the time!
Chamberlain Foreman
Chamberlain Foreman Yeah I get phantom vibrations from time to time. I also suffer from knowing that someone else's phone rang but still checking mine compulsively.
Andre Ball
Andre Ball This happens to me all the time!! It gets annoying fast.
Tulio M. Mesa
Tulio M. Mesa Every day




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