Monday, June 27, 2016

Uncanny Valley

Although I agreed with the vast majority of the research, statements, and even personal anecdotes included in Rosenblum's book, there was one phenomenon that I strongly disagreed with it, mostly since I couldn't relate to it at all and have never heard anyone else mention it before. That said, I disagreed with the notion of an uncanny valley, which means that as animated faces move closer to realism, they can be perceived as unnerving, zombie-like, or creepily unlifelike, etc. One example Rosenblum used was the Tom Hanks character in the film, The Polar Express (see video about this here:

Apparently, people have found this character to be unsettling and as being in the "uncanny valley." I have seen this movie multiple times, and never once did I find it creepy. Sure, I noticed similarities between the character and Tom, but they didn't cause any bad feelings. I've watched the movie with children, with family members, and with adults (including watching it at a community movie night), and have heard no one complain  The point is, no one said anything about the face. No one seemed uncomfortable. Sure, it's possible they were. It's also possible that they felt something was off-putting about the movie without realizing the source of their discomfort.

I started thinking up reasons for why I have never seemed to experience this uncanny valley. I thought, perhaps it is because I am a quite a reserved person, and so I am not exposed to as many faces as someone more sociable, would be.


Rosenbaum, Lawrence. See what I'm saying: The extraordinary powers of our five senses. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2010. Print.

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