September 2018
Volume 18, Issue 10
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2018
Exploring the Uncanny Valley
Author Affiliations
  • Flip Phillips
    Neuroscience & Psychology, Skidmore College
  • Filipp Schmidt
    Experimental Psychology, Justus Liebig University Gießen
  • Laura Noejovich
    Neuroscience & Psychology, Skidmore College
  • George Chakalos
    Neuroscience & Psychology, Skidmore College
Journal of Vision September 2018, Vol.18, 348. doi:10.1167/18.10.348
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      Flip Phillips, Filipp Schmidt, Laura Noejovich, George Chakalos; Exploring the Uncanny Valley. Journal of Vision 2018;18(10):348. doi: 10.1167/18.10.348.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Abstract

As robots become more human-like our appreciation of them increases — up to a crucial point where we find them realistic but not perfectly so. At this point, human preference plummets into the so-called uncanny valley. This phenomenon isn't limited to robotics and has been observed in many other areas. These include the fine arts, especially photorealistic painting, sculpture, computer graphics, and animation. The informal heuristic practices of the fine arts, especially those of traditional animation, have much to offer to our understanding of the appearance of phenomenological reality. One interesting example is the use of exaggeration to mitigate uncanny valley phenomena in animation. Raw rotoscoped imagery (e.g., action captured from live performance) is frequently exaggerated to give the motion 'more life' so as to appear less uncanny. We performed a series of experiments to test the effects of exaggeration on the phenomenological perception of simple animated objects — bouncing balls. A physically plausible model of a bouncing ball was augmented with a frequently used form of exaggeration known as squash and stretch. Subjects were shown a series of animated balls, depicted using systematic parameterizations of the model, and asked to rate their plausibility. A range of rendering styles provided varying levels of information as to the type of ball. In all cases, balls with no exaggeration (e.g., veridically) were seen as significantly less plausible than those with it. Furthermore, when the type of ball was not specified, subjects tolerated a large amount of exaggeration before judging them as implausible. When the type of ball was indicated, subjects narrowed the range of acceptable exaggeration somewhat but still tolerated exaggeration well beyond that which would be physically possible. We contend that, in this case, exaggeration acts to bridge the uncanny valley for artificial depictions of physical reality.

Meeting abstract presented at VSS 2018

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