Are you ever sure you hear your phone ringing, only to take it out and find no missed calls? If so, you’re not alone. A new study published in the journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking says there’s a name for what happens in your brain when you think you hear a call or a message coming in: ringxiety. Yep, just when you thought you had enough anxiety from navigating the world of texting or losing your phone, there’s more.
The University of Michigan researchers set out to determine who hears phantom cell signals and why. They found that when people hear or feel nonexistent ringing or vibrating to signal an incoming call or text, it actually has to do with anxieties in other areas of their lives — particularly personal relationships. People who feel insecure in their close relationships and have high attachment anxiety tend to experience ringxiety more often, according to the study. Attachment anxiety is characterized by worries about being abandoned, or feelings not being reciprocated in a relationship.
Not only does ringxiety signal some deeper psychological issues, it could actually be causing problems too. “There is a growing awareness that ringxiety may result in both immediate and longer term negative health effects, including headaches, stress and sleep disturbances,” says Brenda K. Wiederhold, editor-in-chief of Cyberpsychology, Behavior and Social Networking and executive director of the Brussels-based Virtual Reality Medical Center, in a news release about the study.
Eesh! Maybe we all need to reevaluate our relationships with our phones — and the people in our lives too.
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(Photo via Atsushi Tomura/Getty)