Have you ever imagined your phone is vibrating in your pocket, only to pull it out and find you imagined it? You’re not alone: it turns out ‘phantom vibration syndrome’ is a common phenomenon. A study of doctors at a hospital in Massachusetts found that 70 per cent of doctors reported experiencing such ‘ghost calls’, while a US study of college students found up to 90 per cent were familiar with the phenomenon.
But fear not – psychologists say this is not a sign of madness, but rather that we are so alert for phone calls and messages that we misinterpret slight muscle spasms as proof of a call. We are so anxious not to miss a call that our brains overcompensate by biasing us towards false alarms.