Overcoming the Uncanny Valley: Displays of Emotions Reduce the Uncanniness of Humanlike Robots
In this paper we show empirically that highly humanlike robots make thoughts of death more accessible, leading to perceptions of uncanniness and eeriness of such robots. Rather than reducing the humanlikeness of robots, our research suggests the addition of emotion displays to decrease a sense of uncanniness. We show that a highly humanlike robot displaying emotions in a social context reduces death-thought accessibility (DTA), which in turn reduces uncanniness. In a pre-test with N = 95 participants, we established that not all humanoid robots elicit thoughts of death and that the extent to which a robot appears humanlike may be linked to DTA. In our Main Study, N = 44 participants briefly interacted with a highly humanlike robotic head that either showed appropriate basic emotions or reacted by blinking. The display of emotions significantly reduced perceptions of uncanniness, which was mediated by a corresponding reduction in DTA. Implications for the design of humanoid robots are proposed.
EPSRC - EP/L00416X/1
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from IEEE via the DOI in this record.
ACM/IEEE International Conference on Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), 7-10 March 2016, Christchurch, New Zealand