Week 10 Discussion: Paper Discussion for The Uncanny Valley

Main Paper:
The Uncanny Valley: Effect of Realism on the Impression of Artificial Human Faces [Jun’ichiro Seyama, Ruth S. Nagayama]

Reference Papers:

  1. The Responses of People to Virtual Humans in an Immersive Virtual Environment. [ Maia Garau, Mel Slater, David-Paul Pertaub, Sharif Razzaque]  It is a reference paper of the main paper. It describes how the behavior of virtual humans affects the responses of actual humans investigating the impacts on presence, co presence, heart rate and electro dermal activity. The study shows that social responses of humans to virtual agents depends on several factors such as behaviors of agents, peoples level of experience with technology and peoples own social behavior. This paper was selected because I found their observation interesting that people respected some social norms despite the fact that they knew the agents were computer generated.
  2. Effects of Avatar’s Blinking Animation on Person Impressions [Kazuki Takashima et al ] This paper has cited the main paper. The paper investigated the effect of eye blinking rate of avatars on viewers subjective impressions. It was noted that blink animation of 18 blinks/min with a human style avatar produced the friendliest impression. Lower blink rates gave intelligent impressions whereas higher blink rates made the potency of an avatar poor. The reason to select this paper is to show how presence and believably forming a person’s impression is affected by a number of small factors, one of which is blinking. This paper shows that to avoid the uncanny valley several small details such as blinking need to be considered.

Discussion Questions:

1.      There is a debate on whether the uncanny valley is a scientific concept or not. What is your view on this?
2.      This study was conducted in Japan. Do you think the results were biased by culture? Do you think people from different backgrounds, culture, age group, gender would respond differently?
3.      The results were concluded on subjective measures. Do you think these experiments were sufficient to conclude the existence of the uncanny valley? Do you feel more objective measures are required?
4.      What do you think is the cause of Uncanny Valley? 
5.      Do you think one’s expectations of technology have an impact on one observing the Uncanny Valley personally?

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