2019 | 12 | 135-148
Article title

Uncanny Valley in Video Games: An Overview

Title variants
Dolina niesamowitości w grach komputerowych: przegląd badań
Languages of publication
The uncanny valley is an idea proposed by Masahiro Mori (1970) regarding negative emotions present in contacts with almost humanlike characters. In the beginning, it was considered only in the context of humanoid robots, but this context was broadened by the development of highly realistic animations and video games. Particularly evident are players’ interests in the uncanny valley. Recently there have been a growing number of reports from empirical studies regarding participants’ perception of highly realistic characters. In the paper, a review of publications concerning the uncanny valley hypothesis in video games is presented, as are deliberations about the impact of the uncanny valley on the game industry. According to the results, there is a need to recognise which attributes of virtual characters cause the uncanny valley effect.
Dolina niesamowitości (ang. uncanny valley, UV) to pojęcie zaproponowane przez Masahira Moriego (1970) dotyczące negatywnych emocji pojawiających się w kontaktach z niemal ludzkimi postaciami. Początkowo opisywane było w kontekście robotów humanoidalnych, lecz rozwój realizmu w animacjach i grach komputerowych wpłynął na rozpatrywanie UV również w tych obszarach. Szczególnie widoczne jest duże zainteresowanie doliną niesamowitości po stronie graczy. W ostatnim czasie wzrosła liczba doniesień z badań, które empirycznie testują wpływ UV na odbiór realistycznych postaci w grach. W artykule przedstawiono przegląd badań dotyczących UV w grach wideo oraz rozważania nad tym, czy UV faktycznie wpływa na rozwój gier komputerowych. Jak wynika z dotychczasowych badań, istnieje potrzeba odpowiedzi na pytanie, jakie atrybuty postaci powodują efekt doliny niesamowitości.
Physical description
  • Blakemore, S.-J., & Decety, J. (2001). From the perception of action to the understanding of intention. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 2(8), 561–567.
  • Brenton, H., Gillies, M., Ballin, D., & Chatting, D. (2005). The Uncanny Valley: Does it exist and is it related to presence. Presence Connect, 8(1).
  • Dill, V., Flach, L. M., Hocevar, R., Lykawka, C., Musse, S. R., & Pinho, M. S. (2012). Evaluation of the uncanny valley in CG characters. In International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents (pp. 511–513). Springer.
  • Fischer, J., Bartz, D., & Straber, W. (2005). Stylized augmented reality for improved immersion. In IEEE Proceedings. VR 2005. Virtual Reality, 2005 (pp. 195–202). IEEE.
  • Geller, T. (2008). Overcoming the uncanny valley. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 28(4), 11–17
  • Grodal, T. (2000). Video games and the pleasures of control. D. Zillmann, P. Vorderer (eds.), Media Entertainment: The Psychology of Its Appeal (pp. 197–213). Lawrence Erlbaum Associated Publishers.
  • Kätsyri, J., Förger, K., Mäkäräinen, M., & Takala, T. (2015). A review of empirical evidence on different uncanny valley hypotheses: support for perceptual mismatch as one road to the valley of eeriness. Frontiers in Psychology, 6(390), 1–16.
  • Kätsyri, J., Mäkäräinen, M., & Takala, T. (2017). Testing the ‘uncanny valley’ hypothesis in semirealistic computer-animated film characters: An empirical evaluation of natural film stimuli. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 97, 149–161.
  • Knotts, T. (2007). GTA IV, the uncanny V, and ‘good graphics’. Online: <>. Access date: 23th December 2018.
  • Lackner, J. R. (1988). Some proprioceptive influences on the perceptual representation of body shape and orientation. Brain, 111(2), 281–297.
  • Łupkowski, P., Rybka, M., Dziedzic, D., & Włodarczyk, W. (2018). The background context condition for the uncanny valley hypothesis. International Journal of Social Robotics, 11(1), 25–33.
  • MacDorman, K. F., Green, R. D., Ho, C.-C., & Koch, C. T. (2009). Too real for comfort? Uncanny responses to computer generated faces. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(3), 695–710.
  • MacDorman, K. F., Green, R. D., Ho, C.-C., & Koch, C. T. (2009). Too real for comfort? Uncanny responses to computer generated faces. Computers in Human Behavior, 25(3), 695–710.
  • Metacritic (n.d.). The Polar Express. Online: <>. Access date: 21st December 2018.
  • Misselhorn, C. (2009). Empathy with inanimate objects and the uncanny valley. Minds and Machines, 19(3), 345–359.
  • Mustafa, M., Guthe, S., Tauscher, J.-P., Goesele, M., & Magnor, M. (2017). How human am I?: EEG-based evaluation of virtual characters. In Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in ComputingSystems (pp. 5098–5108). ACM.
  • Perry, T. (2014). Leaving the uncanny valley behind. IEEE Spectrum, 51(6), 48–53.
  • Pollick, F. E. (2009). In search of the uncanny valley. In International Conference on User Centric Media (pp. 69–78). Springer.
  • Schneider, E., Wang, Y., & Yang, S. (2007). Exploring the uncanny valley with Japanese video game characters. In DiGRA ‘07 – Proceedings of the 2007 DiGRA International Conference: Situated Play.
  • Schreier, J. (2017). The story behind Mass Effect: Andromeda’s troubled five-year development. Online: <>. Access date: 23th December 2018.
  • Schubert, T., Friedmann, F., & Regenbrecht, H. (2001). The experience of presence: Factor analytic insights. Presence: Teleoperators & Virtual Environments, 10(3), 266–281.
  • Schwind, V., & Jäger, S. (2016). The uncanny valley and the importance of eye contact. I-Com, 15(1), 93–104.
  • Schwind, V., Wolf, K., & Henze, N. (2018). Avoiding the uncanny valley in virtual character design. Interactions, 25(5), 45–49.
  • Tinwell, A. (2014). The uncanny valley in games and animation. AK Peters/CRC Press.
  • Wages, R., Grünvogel, S. M., & Grützmacher, B. (2004). How realistic is realism? Considerations on the aesthetics of computer games. In International Conference on Entertainment Computing (pp. 216–225). Springer.
  • Wilms, M., Schilbach, L., Pfeiffer, U., Bente, G., Fink, G. R., & Vogeley, K. (2010). It’s in your eyes—using gaze-contingent stimuli to create truly interactive paradigms for social cognitive and affective neuroscience. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, 5(1), 98–107.
  • Zell, E., Aliaga, C., Jarabo, A., Zibrek, K., Gutierrez, D., McDonnell, R., & Botsch, M. (2015). To stylize or not to stylize?: The effect of shape and material stylization on the perception of computer-generated faces. ACM Transactions on Graphics (TOG), 34(6), 184:1–184:12.
Document Type
Publication order reference
YADDA identifier
JavaScript is turned off in your web browser. Turn it on to take full advantage of this site, then refresh the page.