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Journal of Interactive Media

Editor-in-Chief: Ziegler, Jürgen

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Volume 15, Issue 1


The Uncanny Valley and the Importance of Eye Contact

Valentin Schwind
  • Corresponding author
  • HCI Laboratory, Institute for Visualization and Interactive Systems (VIS), Department of Computer Science, University of Stuttgart, Stuttgart, Germany
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/ Solveigh Jäger
  • Games Laboratory, Institute for Games, Department of Computer Science, Stuttgart Media University, Stuttgart, Germany
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  • Other articles by this author:
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Published Online: 2016-04-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/icom-2016-0001


The Uncanny Valley hypothesis describes the negative emotional response of human observers that is evoked by artificial figures or prostheses with a human-like appearance. Many studies have pointed out the meaning of facial features, but did not further investigate the importance of eye contact and its role in decision making about artificial faces. In this study we recorded the number and duration of fixations of participants (N = 53) and recorded gaze movements and fixations on different areas of interest, as well as the response time when a participant judged a face as non-human. In a subsequent questionnaire, we grasped subjective ratings. In our analysis we found correlations between the likeability and the duration of eye fixations on the eye area. The gaze sequences show that artificial faces were visually processed similar to the real ones and mostly remained not assessed as artificial as long as the eye regions were not considered.

Keywords: Uncanny Valley; Eye Tracking; Human-likeness; Subjective Ratings; Eye Contact


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About the article

Valentin Schwind

Studied Media Computer Science at the Stuttgart Media University in Germany. Is now doctoral student at the University of Stuttgart and explores the Uncanny Valley in Human-Computer Interaction.

Solveigh Jäger

Solveigh Jäger is game designer, 3D artist, and media author. She studies Electronic Media Master and works on research and development projects in the field of assistive and barrier-free IT.

Published Online: 2016-04-12

Published in Print: 2016-04-01

Citation Information: i-com, Volume 15, Issue 1, Pages 93–104, ISSN (Online) 2196-6826, ISSN (Print) 1618-162X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/icom-2016-0001.

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