Phantom Vibration Syndrome

What Does Phantom Vibration Syndrome Mean?

Phantom vibration syndrome is a false perception that one’s phone is vibrating when it is actually not. This phenomenon is experienced by hundreds of individuals each year. There are certain times when this false perception confuses a person the most: during a physical activity, when in a noisy place or when watching TV. Our brain is especially more alert at those times so the sensory nerves are highly responsive to auditory tones as well.


Phantom vibration syndrome is also known by many other terms, including phantom vibrations, phantom ringing, ringxiety, hypovibrochondria and fauxcellarm.

Techopedia Explains Phantom Vibration Syndrome

Psychologists believe that phantom vibration syndrome or “false ringing” is an unusual activity that depicts our deep connection with our phone. Ninety percent of undergraduate students have experienced phantom vibration at least once in their lifetime. The human brain has a difficult time deciding whether the signal coming from near the skin is actually from the phone vibrating or from any other source. It is a reflex mostly based on our mind’s decision. But then again, nobody likes a missed call so our mind is biased toward checking the phone regularly instead of missing an important call. Phantom vibration syndrome is far from any pathological hallucination. In fact, it is our near-perfect perceptual system trying the best in an uncertain and noisy world.


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Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.