Psychologists explain phantom notifications and ‘ringxiety’


iphone-4-closeup by alejandro escamilla ringxiety
Give it up, man. It's not actually ringing.
Photo: Alejandro Escamilla/Unsplash

More often than I care to admit, I’ll think I feel a tap from my Apple Watch. But then when I check the screen, I’ve received nothing: no texts, no phone calls, no notifications of any kind. It’s really weird and makes me feel like I’m finally losing it.

I usually just assume the watch shifted a little on my wrist, and that I’m not hallucinating at all. But psychologists are suggesting that what’s happening to me and others (you can admit it; this is a safe place) may be the technological arm of some actual psychological issues dealing with attachment, fear of rejection, and a chronic need for validation.

People are calling this symptom “ringxiety” because I’m pretty sure that we’ve really lost our sense of pride in portmanteaus as a culture.

In a recent study, University of Michigan research assistant professor Daniel Kruger and research assistant Jaikob Djerf attempted to correlate the phenomenon of phantom calls and texts with conditions like attachment anxiety and attachment avoidance. Of their 411 volunteers, all of whom suffered from either anxiety or avoidance, 80 percent reported feeling false vibrations. Almost half said they had actually heard their phone ringing.

“Phantom ringing and phantom notifications in one sample were significantly predicted by attachment anxiety,” Kruger said.

And you don’t just have to worry about feeling like you’re going out of your mind, either. Ringxiety might also produce physical symptoms.

These include “headaches, stress, and sleep disturbances,” according to Brenda Wiederhold, editor-in-chief of the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, which published Kruger and Djerf’s findings.

While the new report suggests that people may be predisposed to ringxiety based on their psychological profiles, it might also just be a result of always carrying around the devices that keep us in touch with the world.

Wearables like the Apple Watch, with its gentle, notifying taps, make our notifications more prevalent and physical. And because we know that we could get a notification at any second of the day, some people may just come to anticipate them and create the phantom vibrations or rings, although being especially twitchy or anxious certainly won’t help your case much.

Via: Telegraph

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  • Tallest Skil

    Most people on the Internet probably only come in contact with less than a dozen sites. Google, with its Gmail and YouTube, Facebook, perhaps a random community like Tumblr, a couple of image boards, the occasional visit to Amazon, maybe some news websites, and that’s about it. For the vast majority of the population, the Internet is a prepackaged, socially engineered spy grid. It fuels itself on your input and weaponizes the information against you and everyone else.

    Already the social engineers are dividing us entirely, confusing the tongue, and making it difficult to communicate effectively. On Google and YouTube, comments and videos are filtered such that you only come in contact with certain predetermined material derived by social algorithms. They make it nearly impossible to discover new random channels and points of view. When you click on a video and scroll down, you’re presented with preselected comments that jive with the opinions you tend to agree with and made to jump through hoops of inconvenience to look at all the other discussions taking place.

    Since Google is so influential, this sort of strategy is largely finding its way into every facet of the corporate-controlled Internet. This means that when I click on a video, say of the puppet Obama fake crying about Sandy Hook, I will see comments that are critical of his phony bullshit and other comments mocking the counterfeit brainwashing media. Yet when a stereotypical phony “liberal” feminist clicks on the same video, she’ll be presented with comments that agree with her gun-grabbing ideology. In effect, we’re being self-imprisoned on these tiny Internet islands where we can’t reach out to one another. Google can control who and what we interact with and see, and so divide and conquer the mind of the population. It’s a good strategy to quell dissent; when I click on a controversial news video or article, I unwillingly come in contact with opinions that tend to support my own, and so I leave with the sense that there is a consensus on a particular world event like Sandy Hook. This engineering of a false consensus has the effect of pacifying the people, making them content in their beliefs. In being content, they became lazy and stop questioning the world and discussing reality with those around them.

    By forcing the ignorant to be separate from the wise, from the stupid, from the trolls, even, this system of division is impeding the social development of humanity at large. The typical person on the Internet is confined within their own little bubble of information–a literal reservation matrix.

    The vast majority of modern people only interact with the world around them through the lens of the Internet. Everything they know–and much of where their worldview comes from–is directly influenced through what they experience online. By allowing a cabal of government/corporate entities with advanced technologies in their disposal to regulate what an individual interacts with online, they can shape and guide the development of one’s mind.

    We are, quite literally, being domesticated through sophisticated weaponized psychology.

    Most of human history and its accumulated knowledge is already immersed on the Internet; within our lifetimes all of it will be in the cloud, soon enough the entire population will be hardwired into the Internet, in one way or another. It’s conceivable that our entire species’ recorded collective experience–all of our history and knowledge–can be manipulated and censored by predatory algorithms that can gradually and insidiously edit the data to keep the truths from us. The beast supercomputers can sift through the entire Internet and gradually edit out certain sensitive or undesirable information–even change audio files and manipulate videos. In recent years, everyone’s identity is being lassoed to the Internet, such that there is no longer anonymity and free exchange. Certain people can be effectively silenced. The Internet with which I come into contact might be an entirely different Internet than the one others see. By socially engineering groups and confining certain people within these restricted informational reservations, reality and social/cultural trends can be manufactured.

    It’s such a passive and insidious strategy. Just as a virus entering a cell coats itself with the host’s own membrane, masquerading as self to elude detection, this beast computer consciousness uses our own information and our own architecture to elude our defenses and gain entrance into our collective mind.

  • Loberiski

    Intriguing and insightful.

  • Jonnyw2k

    “. Of their 411 volunteers, all of whom suffered from either anxiety or avoidance, 80 percent reported feeling false vibrations. Almost half said they had actually heard their phone ringing.”
    This makes the stats meaningless. Do people without anxiety or avoidance also feel false vibrations?

  • sargasm

    Laughed when I saw “About the author” … The “author” paraphrased this article from the Telegraph. Just link to the Telegraph in the first sentence and call it a day. Blogs.

  • Learn to put the damn iPhone down sometimes. Problem solved.