Psychologist Sigmund Freud came up with the idea of the “uncanny” in 1919.
The uncanny is a specific emotion of fear that is experienced when something isn’t quite as it should be. Like a taxidermied animal, or an antique doll.
In 1970, roboticist Masahiro Mori warned that robots could indeed also provoke these negative feelings of unease, if they appeared too human. Based on these findings, Mori introduced the theory of the uncanny valley, depicting a drop of attraction towards the animate object, after it achieved human features. This unsettling feeling will – according to Mori – only disappear when the robot is completely indistinguishable to an actual living human being.
But is the uncanny valley theory likewise applicable to animated digital characters, like the ones found in animation movies and video games? Continue reading “When are Animated Characters Uncanny?”