Those moments when you think you feel your phone vibrating in your pocket and then pull it out to discover that it was never ringing in the first place is a phenomenon found only in the past five or so years. The syndrome hasn’t been named yet, but it has picked up some nicknames like hypovibochondria or ring-xiety. More importantly, it has become near-universal for smartphone users.
In fact, one study found that 90 percent of college undergrads had experienced the phantom vibrations. The same was found in a study of hospital workers.
Our brains have become so conditioned to a ringing phone, that we imagine it; which I, frankly, find utterly terrifying.
"We're seeing a lot of what looks like compulsive behavior, obsessive behavior," Dr. Larry Rosen, a research psychologist, told NPR. "People who are constantly picking up their phone look like they have an obsession. They don't look much different from someone who's constantly washing their hands. I'm not saying that it is an obsession, but I'm saying that it could turn into one, very easily."
This obsession could be what’s causing us to feel those phantom rings. So maybe it's time to put down the phone, right? And we totally would, except that we might miss something important.