Man Explains ‘Uncanny Valley’ Theory That Causes Images To Panic Us
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A man has explained the truth behind the creepy theory of the 'uncanny valley'. Watch below:
You may very well have experienced it yourself, a feeling of deep unease or alarm when looking at a character on the TV or cinema screen.
It can be so profound that it has reportedly caused some people to burst into tears. But what is it?
Well, a musician going by the name of Sylas Dean has given his followers an insight into the strange phenomenon, which he revealed forced DreamWorks to make big changes to one of the biggest children's films of all time.
In a video posted to his TikTok account, he explains that the 'uncanny valley' is where our brains find it difficult to compute the fact a hyper-realistic image of a face, whether it's a cartoon or waxwork, is not actually human.
He says: "Does a photo like this make you feel uncomfortable or something like this? This phenomenon is known as the 'uncanny valley' introduced by Masahiro Mori in the 1970s.
"The Uncanny Valley refers to a phenomenon where brains can register that something is very close to human. But we're also aware that something's not quite right.
"It's the in between where we can process that something looks like a person but it's not a person, and it causes feelings of distress, believed to be an evolutionary mechanism, which is also not exclusive to just humans.
"The 'uncanny valley' is where we perceive these things to be a threat or not of us, and it can cause feelings of panic."
And he says it even forced a studio to redesign one of its main character following a fairly traumatic test screening.
He continues: "One of the most well known modern examples of this was actually an early test screening of Shrek in 2000, where Fiona was rendered as very hyper-realistic, so realistic that it surpassed the threshold of comfort and cartoon and moved into the 'uncanny valley'.
"Children actually became so panicked that this screening they were reported to be crying at the movie anytime she came on the screen.
"The entire film had to be halted and she was re-rendered."
Adding: "The uncanny valley is still a widely unstudied phenomenon, but it continues to become more and more pervasive and entertainment as well as our modern Animation."
Speaking on NPR back in 2010 about the infamous Shrek screening, journalist Lawrence Weschler said: "When they showed it to an audience of children, the children started crying and freaking out because there was something wrong."
He explained that there is a tipping point, where something goes from being the ideal level of real and not to something more sinister.
"The notion was that if you made a robot that was 50 percent lifelike, that was fantastic," he said.
"If you made a robot that was 90 percent lifelike, that was fantastic. If you made it 95 percent lifelike, that was the best - oh, that was so great. If you made it 96 percent lifelike, it was a disaster. And the reason, essentially, is because a 95 percent lifelike robot is a robot that's incredibly lifelike.
"A 96 percent lifelike robot is a human being with something wrong."