Causes of Phantom Vibration Syndrome

PVS or ‘Phantom vibration syndrome,’ or the perception of vibrations emitting from a device that is not really vibrating, has become a recently discussed psychological phenomenon since the media and medical community introduced documentation and quantitative studies on the problem. Most recognition of the syndrome started in earnest and spread throughout the World Wide Web starting in 2010.

In 2012 Phantom Vibration Syndrome was chosen as one of the “Words of The Year” and shortly after one early clinical study and questionnaire sampling involving a very small test group of young university student selection established that almost 9 out of 10 of the students had experienced what researchers identified as phantom vibrations.

While this study also concluded that the students invariable were not overtly bothered by these imagined physical derangement there was a common thread that the occurrence frequency was on average once every 14 days with higher frequencies up to twice per day being reported on the high event scale.

This rather simple study let to researchers suggesting that there was a correlation between the emotional reactions of the participants to signals such as emotional fluctuations due to the reception and reading of text messages on their phone or the current emotional baggage or psychological turmoil the subject was experiencing.

What causes phantom vibration syndrome? – Researchers, psychologists and clinical university funded studies have elaborated and presented numerous hypotheses regarding a specific cause or combination of factors that cause phantom vibration syndrome. Many of these scholars as well as laypeople in the fields of addictions and psychology believe that the brain becomes acutely conditioned to hearing and expect frequent rings or vibrations from a phone or device, that the very neural transmission paths that are activated when a phone is actually ringing falsely ignite and activate with activity even when the phone isn’t ringing.

Sufferers of the phantom vibration syndrome have become so accustomed to feeling and hearing their phone vibrate and ring with the arrival of calls or text messages or tweets or Facebook update alerts, that their brain expects more of these neural bursts and falsely sends signals. Unable to differentiate between the false neural stimuli and a true neural stimuli the only way a sufferer can know for sure is to verify the phone and this is when they see that no input transmission has been received and they have felt a phantom vibration or impulse twitch.

There have been several contributing factors recognized as potential causes of the phenomenon of PVS which include the average number of vibrations or rings the patient receives on a daily basis which will create a conditioning in the patient to regularly feel vibrations from their phone.

The volume and intensity of the phone and vibration setting of the phone will also impact the actual physical conditioning of the sufferer; frequent long vibrations that occur at regular intervals will condition the patient to be ready to receive a call or alert and the brain will be expecting the “hit” and will create synaptic expectations which manifest themselves as a tactile hallucination.

The brain chemistry of the subject is also a factor in the equation as incidence of depression, compulsive disorder, attention deficit disorder, anxiety, and addictive traits will also cause phone users to have heightened or exaggerated experiences of phantom ringing.

Adding to the formula for diagnosis would also be the amount of time the patient has been using their phone and the average time they spend on the phone and the number of incoming alerts and phone calls are received and the average over time. People who rely heavily on using their phones for business or have an extremely large network of friends or who rely on sending and receiving multiple social network update alerts from friends will naturally have more true phone vibrations and this increased frequency will impact the quota of phantom vibrations experienced as the average time between actual digital receptions which activate the phone will cause the brain to be expecting a vibration to happen within the time span that the conditioning has dictated.

Because the omnipresent use of phones in the current human evolutionary period is a new development there is little historical comparisons that can be made. Previous generations did not have smartphones or mobile phones. Similarities could be reflected with various occupational hazards of the past; hard rock miners , for example, would spend hours every day holding large vibrating drills and after a while the miners would feel their forearms vibrating even when they were at home not near their drills. The continuous impacts of the actual vibration bled over into a phantom sensation much like amputees experience phantom limbs, a foot can feel itchy when the foot is not there.

Now that there are over 6 billion smartphones in use around the world the young children of today are even starting to use the phones when they are pre-teenagers and it is reasonable to expect that the issues of PVS will increase as the genetics of humanity becomes universally fed on digital impulses and electromagnetic pulses at close range delivered by high-tech wireless devices.

Beyond the actual physical oscillations of the phone which is what most research into PVS focuses there is also the radiation, heat and electromagnetism that can cause changes to cellular walls and create heat and emissions on the atomic level that have yet to be fully understood and declarations of absolute safety cannot be issued, instead the global economy that revolves around wireless devices and the transmission of media has declared this a non-issue and has attempted to reassure any fears and silence any detractors of their agenda who question the benign nature of the technology they use, often used for propaganda and marketing of a consumer agenda.

Brain chemistry is another key component in determining the cause and likelihood of PVS to strike someone. Neural transmitters that perform similar tasks across the species will have minute variations among individuals; humans cover the spectrum of smart and stupid, compassionate and evil, fat and thin and just as we all react differently with the introduction of certain chemical substances or under different external environmental cues there will be differences in how the compound use of vibrating phones reacts in each individual.

People who are genetically prone to anxiety may be at a higher risk to PVS as may people with underlying addictive personalities who have convoluted cellular leanings based on reward and deprivation.

Vibration settings and sound frequency settings of a phone are also implicated; most cell phones will emit tones for rings or vibrations within the range of 950 Hz to 6100 Hz – the same frequencies that have a predisposition to actually shock the auditory system. This is why we respond to the vibration or ring in that we are attempting to damper the blast effect experienced even at lower volumes the frequency of vibration causes a shock and when we are blasted by our cell phone vibrations and rings and alarms and alerts, especially if we get very frequent notifications or calls, we are doing nothing less than literally jolting the auditory cortex into submission to be even more sensitive to these frequencies.

The range of frequencies of between 1000 Hz through 6000 Hz are more difficult for humans to pinpoint through spatial navigation which is why many phone users who hear their phone ringing or vibrating will have a difficult time locating their device if it is not in their pocket. The elicited frequencies from the device do not allow a rapid and precise geolocation of the device and this may cause a conditioned neural imprint to occur over extended use of the phone that is emitting these ringing frequencies and the combined vibrations. This conditioning of a brain can leave it sensitized beyond normal to these sounds.

The vibratory oscillations of most smart phones and iPhones are in the range of 120 Hz and 200 Hz and when a phone is set to vibrate at the arrival of a wireless trigger signifying a call or text message and the phone is in a users pocket or on their person they will feel the vibration via your skin.

The sensitive skin receptors and neural transmitters send signals to the brain that there is an alert or incoming communication on the phone. This, of course, is the proper design function taking place; we want to be notified of the incoming communication hence we have programmed the device to vibrate to notify us of the reception. The receptors, especially with repetitive vibrations, become conditioned and the brain chemistry instills importance to the messages and amplifies the focus placed on receiving the vibrations as the brain begins placing higher importance on the phone and anticipation of reward becomes paramount to the extent that the skin and brain receptors will conspire to activate the individual to check their phone.

The skin receptors that are altered by the continued vibrations become sensitized to any contact that is within the range of frequencies of the ringtone or the vibration setting patterns and it is theorized that due to this over-sensitization that even clothing could trigger a phantom vibration if the clothing closely mimics the frequency of the phone. Someone may lean against something or have a wind ruffle their coat or even a car stereo in the vicinity of the subject could cause micro vibrations in similar wavelengths that a person might suddenly detect a phantom ring on their person even if they do not have their device with them.

The brain pathways and receptors become desensitized and altered that the stimuli of clothing touching or rubbing upon the skin simulates the vibration of the phone enough that the brain falsely registers a phone activating. Tighter clothes likely have a higher rate of inducing phantom sensations as the tighter fabric weave is more likely to rub the skin as it is literally enveloping the skin with a constant, albeit subtle, tactile impression.

The interaction with technology has taken on a primordial importance in our existence much like food and shelter and due to our unrelenting utilization of our wireless devices we have become conditioned to prepare for or become involved inevitably with an interaction with our devices and technology. This new conditioning for interacting with devices has led to unrelated stimuli being associated with the interaction.

Because it is generally accepted that people prefer to receive phone calls and not to miss the phone calls the brains system of perception is being adjusted to increase the neural sensitivity to the vibrating phone (signifying a call) with a higher bias to such a heightened level that it makes missing phone calls unlikely. The brain wants to ensure no rewards are missed, no phone calls are missed, and to avoid the negative emotional feeling associated with missing a potentially positive communication.

The unavoidable consequence of this is a ramped upward incline towards false alarms and phantom phone vibrations. Studies have indicated that personalities that seek out excitement and new situations have a higher predisposition to PVS as they equate the phone with the potential announcement that triggers feelings of excitement or novelty.

Announcements and research presentations were often met with scorn and derision from bloggers and tech-writers and social commentators who said that to justify the existence of PVS was just another example of how society was becoming nothing but victims of a bubble-wrap mentality where every new device was suddenly causing health problems. It became the butt of jokes and online cartoons to use the odd sensation of a phone ringing and vibrating like a ghost to reference Dilbert cartoons or to laugh at anyone who dared to suggest that the issue should be taken seriously. Bullies would tell people they were being foolish or just overly sensitive or even say “you’re just crazy” and say the symptoms were nothing more than the imagination playing tricks on you.

The 2012 releases on the subject by Drouin, Kaiser, & Miller as well as the earlier 2010 released literature from Rothberg, Arora, Hermann, St. Marie & Visintainer suggested the potential that the phantom vibrations reflected a physical manifestation of anxiety that pre-existed in the patient and that the cellphone was the trigger that elicited this effect. The editorial summaries of the authors signaled the possibility that the phantom vibrations were in the realm of text message addiction which can be extrapolated to other online addictions like Facebook addiction or Pinterest addiction which are part of a modern version of social anxiety and social sensitivity in the new modern wireless world.

The global reach of wireless devices and smartphones which current estimates suggest are over 6 billion wireless phone devices in use on the planet. The sheer number of the population in the world who depend on their devices for work, organization, social networking and amusement, traveling, mapping, phone calls and operating other devices means that clinical findings showing an inherent risk and potential damage to health from the use or overuse of wireless phones and devices would be a veritable threat to the function of a new world order. Advertising and marketers of the technology that suggests Wi-Fi as an essential service that needs to be offered to all and that the new devices are better and faster for social networking and controlling our smart-homes and capturing photos and uploading images and Tweets to our social media accounts. Much the way cigarette marketers made publicity that glamorized cigarettes all the while knowing they were a toxic product that was killing people the new technology developers and generation hashtag are being shown how the delights of happiness and ego gratification are only as far as their smartphone or device’s screen.

Signs have been showing in the past but our desire to embrace this new digital revolution has made us filter out any data that shows the dangers of technology and the effects on our health and mental state. In a 1995 initiative study Robert Kraut and colleagues provided free internet access and a new computer to 93 American households who had no Internet experience, this was 1995 after all and despite the fact that now every 10 year old has a phone which is receiving electromagnetic waves and transmitting waves similar to microwaves but 20 years ago the Internet was new, and the researches tracked the psychological health of the 93 families over several years in what was called “The HomeNet Project”.

Researchers concluded after the first year of data analysis that greater use of the Internet was associated with more signs of loneliness and depression. Although this study later showed that the negative influence dissipated over time and with user experience on the Internet, concern over the impact of this technology on the psychological well being has been escalating, albeit rather slowly, to the extent that in 2011 the American Pediatric Association’s Council on Communications and Media reported that ‘‘Facebook depression’’ was a real and potential problem.

These early finding focused more on the uses and applications that were delivered by the new technology (ie; Facebook platform, chatrooms, user groups, text messages) and less on the electromagnetic delivery chain of the wireless signals that contained uploaded and downloaded data to the device. As devices evolved from large desktop devices to smaller handheld devices the impact on humans was left as an afterthought by many as the dazzling magic contained inside their powerful devices was too strong an attraction for them to question what was happening to their physiology when a permanent magnetic, electronic device was sending and receiving signals and waves and micro particles similar to how the magnetic field of the sun wraps around the earth we have begun to wrap our individual collection of cells that constitute our beings with a shroud of digital noise and electromagnetism that moves on the atomic level of vibrations and radiation.

Phone network companies and media conglomerates and large manufacturers of phones and devices act in a similar fashion that cigarette companies used the media to make us focus on how sexy a woman looked with lipstick and a Marilyn Monroe figure was when she slowly took a draw from a cigarette and let the smoke curl enticingly from her mouth and pursed her lips to blow the smoke into the air and flutter her eyelashes and took our attention away from the carcinogenic particles that were adhering to the mucus walls of the actresses lungs and causes genetic damage as well as cardiovascular breakdown.

It is too early in the evolution of the technology to yet determine the long term effects that Phantom Vibration Syndrome are warning us of but it is clear that the economy and current agendas of the world powers would not want anyone to raise a red flag to the potential dangers of cellphone use. For this reason the bullies who discredit this syndrome are ensuring that the status quo continues and the very network that makes their livelihood so lucrative will continue to operate for the short term goal of profit over the long term good of the human race.

One potential cause of PVS is the prevalent obsession that people have with their smartphones. Nokia research quoted in 2011 that on average, a typical smartphone or iPhone user will look at their phone 150 times per day. That is an average of almost once every 7 minutes. It is not difficult to understand that a person who is looking at, grabbing, touching and using their electronic device every 7 minutes will begin to develop and encourage obsessional tendencies but also to react similar to a Pavlov subject who is rewarded when a text message is received or the phone rings. The constant re-enforcement of reward from the smartphone makes the phantom vibrations become a tactile hallucination that the dog is hearing the bell, literally feeling the bell and is hoping to get their reward.

These studies and limited research tends to focus more on the obsessive manner of our relationship with phones and technology yet does not delve adequately into the other factors in the equation which is the actual electromagnetic signal and heat and radiation generated by these devices when we talk on the phone or when we send text messages and play games. There is significant potential that electromagnetic waves can do more than just disrupt sleep and cause physical changes in the blood brain barrier but that they can create an addiction in that the devices we are so addicted to are constantly receiving or transmitting low doses of radiation similar to microwaves and generate heat and are constantly within arm’s length of our bodies at all times. As we reach for our phones every 7 minutes were are being dosed in a shower of invisible radiation, a cosmic noise that operates on a quantum level and cuts through the spaces in our atoms with ease, bathing us in a magnetic fluid of digital energy.

There is nothing biological that resists the transference of properties when a subject to long term bathing or uninterrupted soaking in another. When invoking the states of matter we can assume to be solids and as such a solid will absorb properties of a liquid, gas or plasmatic material if soaked in it or bathed for long periods in the fluid or electro plasma. As when you sit in a closed room full of burning incense you will inevitably absorb the odor of the incense so will you absorb the radiation received and transmitted by your electronic device. The difference is that we will eventually leave the room filled with incense smoke but how often do we leave the electro plasma bath. We carry it with us to avoid the anxiety and depression of not having the signals surrounding us.

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