With technology allowing for increased realism in video games, realistic, human-like characters risk falling into the Uncanny Valley. The Uncanny Valley phenomenon implies that virtual characters approaching full human-likeness will evoke a negative reaction from the viewer, due to aspects of the character?s appearance and behavior differing from the human norm. This study investigates if ?uncanniness? is increased for a character with a perceived lack of facial expression in the upper parts of the face. More important, our study also investigates if the magnitude of this increased uncanniness varies depending on which emotion is being communicated. Individual parameters for each facial muscle in a 3D model were controlled for the six emotions: anger, disgust, fear, happiness, sadness and surprise in addition to a neutral expression. The results indicate that even fully and expertly animated characters are rated as more uncanny than humans and that, in virtual characters, a lack of facial expression in the upper parts of the face during speech exaggerates the uncanny by inhibiting effective communication of the perceived emotion, significantly so for fear, sadness, disgust, and surprise but not for anger and happiness. Based on our results, we consider the implications for virtual character design.
|Journal||Computers in Human Behavior|
|Number of pages||9|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Mar 2010|