3. If you use your phone more, you're more likely to feel phantom vibrations. The 2007 graduate study found that people who heard phantom rings roughly used twice as many minutes and sent five times as many texts as those who didn't.
4. No one's really bothered by them. 91 percent of the kids in this new study said the vibrations bothered them "a little" to "not at all." 93 percent of the hospital workers felt similarly, reporting themselves "slightly" to "not at all" bothered. But this is where age differences start kicking in, because:
5. Among those surveyed, working adults try to end the vibrations much more often than undergrads. More than eighty percent of the undergrads made no attempt to stop phantom vibrations. This doesn't match the hospital workers's number at all: almost two-thirds of them tried to get the vibrations to stop (and a majority of that set succeeded, though the sample gets so small lessons become unclear).
7. If you react strongly and emotionally to texts, you're more likely to experience phantom vibrations. Droulin's study found that a strong emotional reaction predicted how bothersome one finds phantom vibrations. Emotional reactions to texts have been researched before: in a 2008 study of Japanese high school students, it was found to be a key factor in text message dependence.
8. And that strong emotional reaction means personality traits given to emotional reactions correlate with increased phantom vibrations. People who react more emotionally to social stimuli of any type will react more emotionally to social texts. And people who react more emotionally to social stimuli can be sorted into two large groups (with the usual attached caveats about the usefulness of psychological groups): extroverts and neurotics. But they can be sorted into these two huge groups for two totally different reasons.
Extroverts have many friends and work hard to stay in touch with them. Social information carries more import for them because they care deeply about it, they're directed to it, and their regular emotional reaction to social stimuli carries over into texts. And since a strong emotional reaction to texts predicts increased phantom vibrations, it makes sense -- and indeed, it correlates -- that extroverts experience more phantom vibrations.
But what correlates stronger, across the board, are neurotic traits. Neurotics fret about their social relationships, they worry about texts and fear each might signal social doom. Droulin's study found that neurotic traits strongly correlated -- even more strongly than extroversion -- with an emotional reaction to texts.
9. But you can luck into fewer phantom vibrations. In this 2012 study, conscientious undergrads, capable of greater focus, reported fewer text messages than the rest of the undergrad population.