If your hipbone is connected to your BlackBerry or your thighbone is connected to your cell phone, those vibrations(1) you're feeling in the car, in your pajamas(2), in the shower, may be coming from your headbone.
Many mobile phone addicts and BlackBerry junkies(3) report feeling vibrations when there are none, or feeling as if they're wearing a cell phone when they're not.
The first time it happened to Jonathan Zaback, a manager at the public relations company Burson-Marsteller, he was out with friends and showing off his new BlackBerry Curve.
"While they were looking at it, I felt this vibration on my side. I reached down to grab it and realized there was no BlackBerry there."
Zaback, who said he keeps his BlackBerry by his bed while he sleeps, checks it if he gets up in the middle of the night and wakes to an alarm on the BlackBerry each day, said this didn't worry him.
"As long as it doesn't mean a tumor(4) is growing on my leg because of my BlackBerry, I'm fine with it," he said. "Some people have biological clocks, I might have a biological BlackBerry."
Some users compare the feeling to a phantom(5) limb(6), which Merriam-Webster's medical dictionary defines as "an often painful sensation of the presence of a limb that has been amputated(7)."
"Even when I don't have the BlackBerry physically on my person, I do find myself adjusting my posture when I sit to accommodate(8) it," said Dawn Mena, an independent technology consultant(9) based Calif. "I also laugh at myself as I reach to unclip it (I swear it's there) and find out I don't even have it on."
Research in the area is scant(10), but theories abound about the phenomenon, which has been termed "ringxiety" or "fauxcellarm."
Anecdotal(11) evidence suggests "people feel the phone is part of them" and "they're not whole" without their phones, since the phones connect them to the world, said B.J. Fogg, director of research and design at Stanford University's Persuasive Technology Lab.
"As human beings, we're so tapped into(12) our community, responsiveness to what's going on, we're so attuned(13) to the threat of isolation and rejection, we'd rather make a mistake than miss a call," he said. "Our brain is going to be scanning and scanning and scanning to see if we have to respond socially to someone."