The ghost in the machine
Do you ever feel your phone vibrating in your pocket or purse, only to retrieve it and be met by eerie, black-screened lifelessness? If, like most people, you occasionally experience these "phantom vibrations," it turns out it's because you're a little bit nuts.Or, scientifically speaking, you're having "sensory hallucinations."So says Michael Rothberg, a researcher at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., who, last year, studied the strange phenomenon among the doctors and other medical staff at Baystate. He discovered that over 70 percent of those polled had experienced a phantom vibration in the past — and some of them were spooked by ghost cellphone rings daily.As Rothberg recently explained on ScienceLine, these hallucinations are, essentially, errors in perception — casualties of the brain's struggle to make sense of the constant barrage of data flooding in from the outside world.