Monday, June 24, 2024

Uncanny Valley

The Uncanny Valley is an emotional response to something human-like, but not quite human. While the most common examples are from video games and movies, there are theories as to why this emotional response appeared in the first place. Many people believe there was some threat to humans while they were evolving that caused this to develop, like a predator, or the dangers of a dead body if they came into constant contact with it.

Either way, that threat seems to have diminished almost entirely, and the effect is now mainly caused by attempts at entertainment through film, video games, and even folklore to an extent. One of the most prominent examples of this effect is through the 2004 animated movie The Polar Express. Made entirely from motion capture, many people felt as though the character's facial movements were creepy, and that they had emotionless eyes. Another popular example is Dwayne Johnson's character, "The Scorpion King," in the 2001 movie The Mummy Returns. Because the animation for his character was widely considered to be bad, it left many people feeling uncomfortable after watching it.

Not only this, but recent advances in robot technology has triggered this effect, in an attempt to make the robots appear more human-like or life-like. The same reasoning behind the movies and video games also goes along with the development of robots, with a popular robot being CB2, a robot made to look like a two year old. While it's missing a lot of the features of a typical human, many people believe the face still makes them feel uncomfortable, as it attempts to mimic behavior as well as facial movements.

Work Cited

Biba, Jacob. “17 Examples of the Uncanny Valley.” Built In, 16 Apr. 2024,

Burnard, Eleanor, and Robert Lee III. “10 Worst Cases of the Uncanny Valley in Film.” Collider, 2 Jan. 2024,

Rosenblum, Lawrence D. “Facing the Uncanny Valley.” See What I’m Saying, W. W. Norton & Company, New York City, New York, 2011, pp. 175–201.

1 comment:

  1. I was always creeped out by certain animations for th is exact reason. The emotionless face that is depicted to be human gives off a very uneasy or uncomfortable feeling as you said. I get the same feelings we Ai sometimes. The advancement in technology surprises me because sometimes the images look very human like but in my opinion the eyes are difficult to perfect, which makes it even more strange.