Feeling Your Phone Vibrating When It Actually Isn't Is All Part of Healthy Brain Functions


Thu, Jul 18th, 2013 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to the Mind Hacks website, sensing phantom phone vibrations is not only a very commin experience but the unavoidable part of healthy brain function.

When your phone is in your pocket, the world is in one of two possible states: the phone is either ringing or not. You also have two possible states of mind: the judgment that the phone is ringing, or the judgment that it isn’t. Obviously you’d like to match these states in the correct way. True vibrations should go with “it’s ringing”, and no vibrations should go with “it’s not ringing”. Signal detection theory calls these faithful matches a “hit” and a “correct rejection”, respectively.

But there are two other possible combinations: you could mismatch true vibrations with “it’s not ringing” (a “miss”); or mismatch the absence of vibrations with “it’s ringing” (a “false alarm”). This second kind of mismatch is what’s going on when you imagine a phantom phone vibration.

For situations where easy judgments can be made, such as deciding if someone says your name in a quiet room, you will probably make perfect matches every time. But when judgments are more difficult — if you have to decide whether someone says your name in a noisy room, or have to evaluate something you’re not skilled at — mismatches will occasionally happen. And these mistakes will be either misses or false alarms.



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