Have you ever heard your phone ring or felt it vibrate but then looked to find no missed call or message?

It’s a phenomenon that is not uncommon among mobile phone users, but the occurrence is much more common among people who crave reassurance from their social relations, according to research from the University of Michigan.

Daniel Kruger, research assistant professor at the university’s School of Public Health, and team studied responses from 411 U-M students through two separate surveys in order to determine the number of times they experienced phantom calls or vibrations. The phantom vibration was the most frequently cited experience for 75 percent of respondents, followed by imagined notifications and then calls.

Via the University of Michigan.

Researchers found that participants with higher levels of attachment anxiety, meaning high levels of insecurity within interpersonal relationships, were more prone to phantom phone calls and notifications.

On the other hand, those more prone to attachment avoidance, meaning they push others away to maintain a psychological distance, are less likely to experience such sensations.

“The cell phone often is your connection to your outside social world, and those people who crave reinforcement of their relationships will carry that into the social media space,” Kruger notes.

Kruger claims the research on what he describes as “high ringxiety”, reported in the current issue of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking, is among the first to tie phantom signals to psychological characteristics, an area which he suggests requires further study.

“Overall, these experiences represent a minor annoyance, but those who suffer from relationship anxiety might consider their dependence on social media, if receiving these phantom signals frequently causes distress,” Kruger concludes.

Additional reporting by the University of Michigan.

Image via Librestock.

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