University of Twente Student Theses


Cold steel instead of warm flesh : can the uncanny valley effect be replicated with biological faces?

Pertenbreiter, M. (2021) Cold steel instead of warm flesh : can the uncanny valley effect be replicated with biological faces?

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Abstract:The uncanny valley effect describes the adverse reactions people experience when confronted with a highly human-like looking entity such as humanoid robots or virtual characters. The reason that almost human-like robots elicit a feeling of eeriness remained questionable as of now. Numerous research points to various explanations of the uncanny valley effect, including high-level cognitions, developmental factors, individual differences and evolution. As the existing research points towards an evolutionary origin of the UV effect, the present study investigated if the UV effect can be replicated with the biological faces of primates, human ancestors, and humans. The participants in this study performed an online survey in which they were presented with each stimulus for a brief time and were asked to rate them based on their perceived eeriness and likability. The results show that each participant experienced the uncanny valley effect when confronted with biological faces. Thus, this study delivered conclusive evidence that the uncanny valley effect is likely a universal phenomenon with its origin within evolution. Further speculations are developed about the benefit of the UV effect for the preservation of humans by arguing that it served as a drive for collective decision making or prevented interbreeding with other hominins in the past. The results of this study allow digging deeper into the view of the UV effect as an evolutionary mechanism.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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