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Uncanny Valley: what exactly is it?

Uncanny Valley: what exactly is it? 

Androids, avatars, and animations are intended for extreme realism but are caught in a disturbing space called the Uncanny Valley. They are extremely real and biological – but when we examine them, we find that they are not very human. When a robot or animated image is in the “valley”, people experience feelings of restlessness, alienation, hatred, or manipulation.
The extraordinary valley is a term used to describe the relationship between a human being’s appearance and the emotional response of a robot object. In this tendency, people feel uncomfortable or even rebellious in response to humanity’s robots that are extremely realistic.
You may have already noticed – perhaps while watching a CGI animated movie or playing a video game. Animated humans may look almost real – but this slight mismatch between looking “almost human” and “completely human” gives you a sense of urgency or even rebellion.
This trend has implications for the field of robotics and artificial intelligence. Devices and online avatars that are designed to help imitate human interaction can actually alienate people who are using such tools.

Origin of the Uncanny Valley

The term was first coined and described in an article published by the Japanese roboticist Masahiro Mori in 1970. In his work, Mori noted that people find his robots more likable if they look more human. While people found her robots more attractive to them, they became more human, it only worked to a certain point.
When robots look close but aren’t quite human, people may feel uncomfortable or even hate them. Once the paranormal Uncanny Valley is reached, people begin to feel restless, anxious and sometimes terrified.
“That’s why, for me, in climbing to the goal of making robots human, our relationship for them grows until we get to a Uncanny Valley that I call extraordinary,” Mori said on the subject. Explain in your main article.
Mori used many examples to illustrate this idea. There is a little human resemblance to an industrial robot and therefore creates little relevance to observers. A toy robot, on the other hand, is more human-like and more attractive. An artificial hand, he notes, tries to lie in this unusual valley – it can be extremely lively but creates a sense of uneasiness.

Examples of unusual valleys

The paranormal valley is seen in various references, from highly realistic robots to video game characters. Some of the best-known examples of the unusual valley can be seen on film. These include:
Final concept
The 2001 film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within shows some of the most realistic CGI animation used at that time. Despite trying to make the animated characters appear super real, the movie was a flop. Simply put, people didn’t want to watch the movie because they felt animated.


Initial test screenings of the film Shrek give rise to unexpected feelings of anxiety. In children in response to Princess Fiona’s role. She was very lively, which made the children feel awkward and scared, even when she looked at the screen, there were many weeping.
Based on the answers and the comments, the filmmakers made changes to the film’s theater before being released in the movie theater to give it a more cartoon-like appearance to prevent the extraordinary Uncanny Valley effect.


The Humanoid Feline was featured in the 2019 Film Adaptation of Cats, which many found to be annoying. While some reportedly felt the impact of comedy, others said it felt like a direct rebellion. On social media, many viewers described the film as strange, terrifying, and yet dreamy.
The fact that the film relies heavily on motion may have played a role in the audience’s reaction. Moore suggests that the addition of motion can exacerbate the extraordinary Uncanny Valley valley effect, and in this case, the film contains both human-like movements and cat-like movements that serve to further distract the viewer.
In these and other instances, being seemingly close to human beings does not create a relationship between the characters in the viewer. When the characters come into the abnormal valley, people instead assume the characters, empty and soulless.

Possible explanations for the unusual valley

There are many suggested explanations as to why people experience unusual valley effects, but there is no clear-cut consensus. Some theories suggest that the phenomenon is biological, while others suggest that there are cultural explanations as well. The following are some factors that may play a role.


A 2016 paper suggested that the feeling of “leaving out” is often due to a feeling of confusion. When we see things that are around but not quite human, it creates a conflict that feels unpleasant.
Such effects are sometimes used to add to the horror or creepiness in the films. Horror films, for example, often incorporate human characteristics into non-human entities, including dolls (Annabelle) and clones (before), to frighten the audience.

Random elements

Research has also shown that people tend to get upset when elements that are not usually together are combined. For example, an article published in 2011 found that when people do not bother with robots with “robot” sounds or with human voices, they feel through robots with human voices.
This effect is not only true for robots but computer-animation features can be seen in humans and animals as well.


Even in the most realistic pictures, people specialize in seeing the smallest contradictions in robotics or dynamic humanity. Even relatively minor conflicts can move a character from life to the extraordinary.
In one of Murray’s original examples, a robot character suddenly became so unwanted and frightening, when he smiled a little too slowly.

Survival response

Mori and others have suggested that the abnormal valley is a frightening, advanced response. The potential threat of death and disease. Because something is human-like but not quite life-threatening, it may reflect the same reactions that people feel when they encounter something that has died or died.
Human Behavior and Evolutionary Psychology

Rating uncertainty

Theories also suggest that extraordinary valleys may exist because of the difficulty of determining what degree an entity belongs to, including whether it is a real living human or a computer-generated 3D model. General Chat Chat Lounge The human and the non-human represent two separate and mutually exclusive features.
So when something reaches a point where it seems like a transition to another, it can trigger feelings of cognitive dissonance. When people occupy conflicting beliefs, they experience feelings of psychological distress.
In this case, there is a conflict between the belief that an entity is human and that it is not human. What looks human may appear suddenly inhuman, or it may even change back and forth as the viewer sees it.
Artificial representation is so real as to fool you almost into thinking it is alive, but it is less than realistic enough to conflict with your expectations of how a real living person will act.
This discrepancy between what you are seeing and your expectations can make you feel unusual or even threatened. In other words, it eliminates you.

Research on an unknown valley

While Mori first proposed the theory in the 1970s. Formal experimental research was not initiated until the mid-2000s. Some researchers have supported the existence of the valley, though its results are mixed with how and why.
Good luck
A 2013 study examined the relationship between human similarity and arousal and found evidence that supports the existence of an unusual valley. Researchers found that there was a strong correlation between emasculation and arousal while manipulating facial proportions and facial expressions.

Children’s answers

A 2014 study found that children between the ages of 9 and 11 were also at risk of experiencing abnormal emotions in response to virtual characters such as humans.
Characters like Virtual Man looked alien and less friendly. Interestingly, these feelings of uneasiness were even more pronounced in those instances where the characters’ upper face expressions were lacking. The impressions of the astonishing face were also considered unusual.
Other names
While some research has backed Mori’s original idea, others have described the phenomenon. As a hill or a wall rather than a valley. In other words, instead of rising to the other side of the valley, the robot once actually reaches a certain degree of sophistication.

Can it be stopped?

And not everyone agrees that the valley itself really exists. For example, one of the earliest scientific investigations on the phenomenon was conducted in 2005 and concluded that people’s experience of feeling. Intimidated has more to do with poor design and aesthetics, which can happen at any level of reality.
While people certainly experience abnormal feelings in some cases, research suggests that the valley can be controlled with good care.

Impact of Uncanny Valley

The extraordinary valley has many influences in various fields. These include:


As people become more and more reliant on robotic technology, it is important to design devices that do not create distraction or distrust. This is especially true in the development of assistive technologies designed to help people with disabilities perform tasks and interact with their environment.
People are more likely to accept designs that are both useful and appealing. Designs that fall into the abnormal valley are likely to be poorly received and underutilized.

Digital avatar

These representations are used in many areas, including online customer service and online treatment. In the field of online therapy, digital representations are often used to facilitate online communication. Between physicians and clients, especially in situations that include online chat or email communication.
When used effectively, reincarnations can help promote a therapeutic relationship, but can often interfere with the actual imagery process.
For example, one study shows that robots that look like most humans are often categorized as not only less likable, but less reliable, which will cause considerable problems with regard to treatment. The success of the treatment is very important.


As blockbuster films rely on maximum CGI effects, filmmakers continue. To work to develop real-world computer-generated animations that are unmatched and do not cover the paranormal.
While many animated films are often criticized for their unrealistic depictions.  The human form, designs that feature wider eyes and other dramatically exaggerated features are often from the undesirable valley. An intentional strategy can be to avoid this.

Game design

The paranormal can also have an impact on how players react to real characters in video games. In some cases, the designer may actually take advantage of the unusual valley to create a sense of frustration for the villainous characters.
Extraordinary valley escape
As robots become increasingly important in everyday life, researchers and designers are interested in finding tools that aren’t unusual in the Valley. This may include making robotic devices even more realistic as they move beyond the valley and become more likable.
Researchers have also suggested several design principles that can help animators and robots make an extraordinary impact. These include:

Combining human proportions with real textures

Not combining inhuman and human elements
Ensure that behaviors, manifestations, and abilities do not conflict
Another way is to create tools or devices that do not merely attempt to replicate human appearance.
In an interview with Wired, Murray said that while it might be possible to bridge the Uncanny Valley.  He has no purpose in trying. Instead, he recommends designing the items that they stop before they reach an extraordinary point.

A word from Verywell

There is still a lot of research to be done. On the phenomenon of this unusual valley so more information about it, why it happens, and how to control it will certainly be revealed as time goes on. Murray himself stated in an interview with IEEE Spectrum. That his original observation was more a guide for the designer than a scientific statement.
As technology advances, it’s possible that robots and digital animations can become so incredibly realistic that they simply merge with reality so that people do not experience anxiety or anxiety. For now, robots, digital avatars, and online animations continue to be the most common part of everyday life, so it’s important for designers to consider the audience’s emotional response.

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