Monday, January 03, 2011

Phantom cell phone vibration

I Could Swear My Phone Went Off

Have you ever had the sensation that the cell phone in your pocket was vibrating when it wasn't? Well, 68% of the medical staff at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., said they have had such a sensation.

What's more, according to Baystate's Michael B. Rothberg, MD, MPH, and colleagues, their survey of 169 workers indicated that deactivating the vibrate mode on their phones was the most effective way to stop the vibrations that weren't actually there.

Nearly 40% of those reporting phantom vibrations did nothing about them. But the rest apparently found them bothersome enough to warrant action, and most of them said those actions succeeded.

Turning off the vibrate mode worked for 75% of those who tried it, compared with 63% of those who moved the device to a different pocket and half of those who got new phones (and yes, Rothberg and colleagues calculated a P value: 0.217).

The "researchers" also found that the strongest predictive factor for phantom vibration was carrying it in a breast pocket versus on a belt (prevalence ratio 1.66, 95% CI 1.29 to 2.14).

From the British Medical Journal (BMJ)

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