DAILY INSIGHT: Phantom of the cell phone?

By Jon Castelhano, CIO Advisor


So we have all heard of phantom vibration where you think your smartphone is ringing or there is an incoming text, and when you go to check, nothing. Sometimes it is disappointing, right? You were expecting your friend to hit you back or waiting for that call from your significant other and it is just your imagination playing tricks on you. I stumbled across a recent article on phantom phone vibrations, thanks Feedly, and was surprised that there are researchers that have actually studied this. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, there is probably a study for just about every behavior known to the human race, but still. I was hooked, however, because I have some "ring-xiety" myself and wanted to see how this was going to turn out for me.

Makes Sense
The article quotes a research psychologist who studies how technology affects our minds, Dr. Larry Rosen. Rosen talks about how technology is affecting the way our brain processes information and possible obsessive behavior with our devices and backing away from them may be a way to keep ring-xiety down. I can't help but think of other situations over the years that seem to bring on similar behavior as phantom phone vibration. If you have children, how many of you would wake up multiple times a night thinking the little one was crying, only to find them sleeping soundly? Or sitting on the couch and you think you hear a car pull up in the driveway, walk all the way to the front door to look out and nobody there. Hopefully you have experienced something similar, if not I may need to take a little time off.


As time changes and technologies become more prevalent in our lives I am sure our brains will process things differently. Moving from a chalkboard to whiteboard probably caused some dryerase-xiety in the past, just as phantom phone vibrations are making news again now. Dr. Rosen makes a good point about backing away from your devices every now and then. We all know that too much of anything is not a good thing, so take a break once in a while from that device. It will be there when you get back.

Jon Castelhano is director of technology for Apache Junction USD in Arizona. This blog is cross posted on his blog, This and That.