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Impact Factor:0.906
Source:2014 Journal Citation Reports® (Thomson Reuters, 2015)

Can Looking at a Hand Make Your Skin Crawl? Peering into the Uncanny Valley for Hands

  1. Ellen Poliakoff1
  2. Natalie Beach1
  3. Rebecca Best1
  4. Toby Howard2
  5. Emma Gowen3
  1. 1 School of Psychological Sciences, The University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
  2. 2 School of Computer Science, The University of Manchester
  3. 3 Faculty of Life Sciences, The University of Manchester
  1. e-mail: ellen.poliakoff{at}manchester.ac.uk


It is postulated that there is an uncanny valley, whereby human-like stimuli such as robots or animated characters that fall short of being fully human are perceived as eerie or unsettling. Previous research has explored the existence of this effect for faces and whole bodies, while here we explore responses to photographs of real and artificial hands. In keeping with the notion of an uncanny valley, prosthetic hands that were of intermediate human-likeness were given the highest ratings of eeriness. However, within the categories of hands, ratings of eeriness reduced as human-likeness increased, suggesting a more complex pattern. Further investigation of this effect will be of relevance to the design of prosthetic limbs and could be used to test theories of the uncanny valley and social perception with simple stimuli.

  • Received July 22, 2013.
  • Revision received September 24, 2013.
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