Today I listened to a podcast about "phantom vibrations" -- sensory hallucinations that people experience when they think their cell phone is vibrating, but it is not. If the limited data are to be believed, 70% of cell phone users experience these (but only 2% are bothered by them).
Apparently, we feel these phantom vibrations because our brains are processing so much information all the time and can't deal with it all and because many of us are always on the alert for incoming calls, so we anticipate them all the time.
I commonly feel phantom phone vibrations, but I always thought they were related to the fact that my office is located near some very big machines that have a very big cooling system that generates continuous vibrations that make my entire office vibrate and, because I am constantly exposed to this when in my office, I imagine vibrations even when I am out of my office.
When visitors come to my office and comment on the fact that the room seems to be moving, some ask if I will suffer any long-term neurological effects of having a vibrating office. I don't know, but maybe I will eventually find out. Or maybe the phantom phone vibrations are an early sign? Imagine my relief to find that 70% of cell phone users, most of whom presumably do not have vibrating offices, also feel these sensory hallucinations.
I still wonder, though, if my office is a cause of at least some of the phantom vibrations. I have phantom phone experiences even when I definitely don't have my phone with me (e.g., in the shower), and I do not have them when I have been out of my office for more than a day or so (even if I have my phone with me). I have always thought that the phantom was of my office.
Now I'm not so sure.
Over the years, I have made efforts to improve the working environment of my office. I requested that the peeling lead-based paint be covered with new paint. I tried a series of chairs until I found one that I could comfortably spend a lot of time in. I adjusted various things about desk-chair-keyboard positioning. I have assorted wrist-rests. I have even worked with the research scientist who oversees the big machines and cooling systems that make my office vibrate to see if we could lessen the vibrations, both in the lab and in my office, although these efforts have thus far had only minor results. So, unless I move my office, I think I am stuck with the vibrations, which are very real, and possible other vibrations, which are not. Or maybe I'd sense the latter anyway.
At least now I have some doubt as to whether my office is the culprit.
10 months ago