Ant writes: "This USA Today article on what some call it "phantom vibration syndrome." Others prefer "vibranxiety" — the feeling when you answer your vibrating cellular/cell phone, only to find it never vibrated at all. Though no known studies have analyzed what may cause spontaneous buzzing. Some who experienced recurring phantom vibrations wondered whether the phenomenon had physical roots: Was it caused by nerve damage or muscle memory?
But experts say the false alarms simply demonstrate how easily habits are developed. Psychologically, the key to deciphering phantom vibrations is "hypothesis-guided search," a theory that describes the selective monitoring of physical sensations, says Jeffrey Janata, director of the behavioral medicine program at University Hospitals in Cleveland. It suggests that when cellphone users are alert to vibrations, they are likely to experience sporadic false alarms, he says...
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"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers."
-- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a
particularly vivid fantasy)