Blackberry Users Report Phantom Vibrations

In a bit of a disconcerting study, many mobile phone addicts and BlackBerry junkies report feeling vibrations when there are none, or feeling as if they're wearing a cell phone when they're not. The first time it happened to Jonathan Zaback, a manager at the public relations company Burson-Marsteller, he was out with friends and showing off his new BlackBerry Curve. "While they were looking at it, I felt this vibration on my side. I reached down to grab it and realized there was no BlackBerry there." Some users compare the feeling to a phantom limb, which Merriam-Webster's medical dictionary defines as "an often painful sensation of the presence of a limb that has been amputated." Although research in the area is scant, theories abound about the phenomenon, which has been termed "ringxiety" or "fauxcellarm."

Anecdotal evidence suggests "people feel the phone is part of them" and "they're not whole" without their phones, since the phones connect them to the world, said B.J. Fogg, director of research and design at Stanford University's Persuasive Technology Lab. "As human beings, we're so tapped into our community, responsiveness to what's going on, we're so attuned to the threat of isolation and rejection, we'd rather make a mistake than miss a call. Our brain is going to be scanning and scanning and scanning to see if we have to respond socially to someone."

Opinion on these phantom vibrations is split. Some, such as Fred Wilson, a managing partner of Union Square Ventures, consider them a point of pride. "Of course I get them," he said. "I've been getting them for over 10 years since I started with the pager-style BlackBerry." On the other side of the spectrum are users like Jeff Posner, president and owner of in New Jersey. He stopped wearing his BlackBerry on his belt because of regular false alarms. And then there is the paranormal, with some users, such as Jake Ward, a former press secretary for Sen. Olympia Snowe and current director of Qorvis Communications Inc., claiming to "pre-feel" a new message or call. "I'll feel it, look at it. It's not vibrating. Then it starts vibrating," he said. "I am one with my BlackBerry."

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I have a similar one, but instead of phantom vibration, it's phantom SMS Tone or phantom Ringtone, especially when it's very quiet. Then I reach for my phone in my pocket or backpack, and see that it has no New SMS or Missed Calls.

I have this "phantom vibration". I often keem my phone in my breast pocket. Sometimes I feel the vibration, and yet - no phone!

Haha! I don't have this issue, but my friends are all freaked out when I answer my phone before it rings because when it sits on my desk it shakes the image on the monitor before ringing if it is close enough.

myrhymeandreason said,
Haha! I don't have this issue, but my friends are all freaked out when I answer my phone before it rings because when it sits on my desk it shakes the image on the monitor before ringing if it is close enough.

It isn't a Nextel is it? My old Nextel phone used to make my old tube monitor shake, and if I have a radio or some speakers near it when it rang, it'd make those tick right before ringing, and while talking on the phone...

well i dont have any of this, but ive owned a sony ericsson and i currently own a nokia... when someone's SE ringtone goes off i still mistake it for my own phone even tho i stopped having that phone almost a year already... the funny thing is when i hear a Nokia ringtone thats from a phone thats from the same series as mine, i think that 'oh its someone elses', the exact opposite of what happens to me with SE ringtones... maybe its cuz nokias are so common here you tend to 'filter it out' ?

I will just add that this happens to me too on my XV6700. I am not that attached to the phone so I have a hard time figuring out why I would vibrate when the phone is not with me....

I hear phantom sounds all of the time. I could be anywhere and I'll hear my phone go off, or the MSN Messenger message received sound, or the new email sound and it'll all be in my head. I've had this for years and never thought much of it.

See, I'm the exact opposite of this. Sometimes my phone is vibrating and I don't feel a thing. I've missed so many important calls because of this...

Happens with my cellphone all the time. It doesn't vibrate but I think it's just a wiggle in my pants or something and it makes me think it was vibrating or something.

Ive had that happen, however Ive only had normal phones.
Always have to have vibrate on though... hate looking a **** when ive got headphones in and the phones ringing.