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Ringxiety is a portmanteau neologism formed from the words "ringer" and "anxiety." It was first coined by David Laramie, a doctoral student at the California School of Professional Psychology, whose dissertation concerned the effects of cell phones on behavior. Ringxiety is described as the sensation and the false belief that one can hear his or her mobile phone ringing or feel it vibrating, when in fact the telephone is not doing so. Other terms for this concept include phantom ring effect and fauxcellarm. It can also be generalized to describe the sensation of hearing one's phone or doorbell ring while doing such things as taking a shower, watching television, or using a noisy device. The reasoning for this relates partially to the idea that humans are particularly sensitive to auditory tones between 1,000 and 6,000 hertz, and basic mobile phone ringers often fall within this range. This frequency range can generally be more difficult to locate spatially, thus allowing for potential confusion when heard from a distance. False vibrations are less well understood, however, and could have psychological or neurological sources.

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