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Robotics Hardware

The Uncanny Valley Explained 172

Posted by Soulskill
from the japan's-plan-for-scaring-the-rest-of-us-to-death dept.
ColdWetDog writes "Scientists now believe they've figured out what causes the uncanny valley response. They compared functional MRI scans of volunteers watching two different types of videos: those showing human-appearing androids, and those showing the humans that the robots were created to mimic. 'The results suggest that the uneasiness we feel could be caused by a "perceptual mismatch between appearance and motion."' Basically, the brain seemed to react in a strongly negative manner when the robotic motions of the android didn't match its human-like appearance."
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The Uncanny Valley Explained

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  • Old News (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pence128 (1389345) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @10:16PM (#36890536)
    We knew this already. They're realistic enough to fool our brains into thinking human, but different enough that the "human" has something seriously wrong with it. That something might be contagious, so you get the "stay the hell away" signal. Imagine a zombie horde where all the zombies are replaced by normal people, but they still act like zombies. Still has the squick factor.
  • Re:Illness (Score:4, Interesting)

    by orngjce223 (1505655) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @10:23PM (#36890570)

    I fall somewhere on the autism spectrum (officially diagnosed, before someone jumps me for that).

    I don't experience the Uncanny Valley effect, and this is the probable evolutionary explanation for it that I've come up with. If it doesn't "look right", it might be a corpse instead of a dead human, or carrying a disease, both of which are possibilities that would explain why the response to Uncanny Valley is a flinch instead of curiosity.

    On the other hand, I've been told many times that I myself trigger the Uncanny Valley effect, by virtue of my behavior...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @10:28PM (#36890606)

    As an Aspie who has dedicated a large proportion of my adult life trying to be accepted as "normal" by people, I can sympathise with the robots.

    When somebody smiles broadly at me, I have to "manually" trigger my (pretty natural-looking) smile, but there is a small delay before my returning smile kicks in. In that fraction of a second, the person smiling at me subconciously realises that something is not quite right, and their smile fades slightly.

    So I'll forever be associated with the notion that I am odd, weird, strange, whatever, because no matter how hard I try (and I'm a pretty good actor), I will never come close to having natural charisma. It's not all bad news though - I've built up a group of friends over the years who appreciate me despite my eccentricities, and I have got enough "game" to go out and have a reasonable chance of finding a new girlfriend on any given night. But it wasn't easy to get to that stage, and required a lot of introspection and acting skill.

    One way to escape the uncanny valley is to spend a while in a completely different culture, where people expect you to be different and strange, and do not read negative interpretations into tiny social cues. Asia is good.

  • Mimes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Required Snark (1702878) on Tuesday July 26, 2011 @11:25PM (#36890864)
    This is why people hate them.

The moon is a planet just like the Earth, only it is even deader.

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