Human-Computer Interaction Faculty Featured by Tech Site

March 24, 2014

Associate Professor of Human-Computer Interaction, Dr. Karl MacDorman, was recently interviewed by the technology news website, Slashdot.

Karl MacDorman

Associate Professor of Human-Computer Interaction, Dr. Karl MacDorman

Dr. MacDorman gave his thoughts on the uncanny valley theory, the idea that computer-animated characters evoke a negative reaction when they look and move almost, but not quite like actual human beings. He also discussed the uncanny valley’s negative effect on the appreciation of video games and how this phenomenon operates differently in video games than in other forms of media.

It isn’t a necessity to have humanlike characters in many video games for them to be effective and appealing to their audiences, but there are instances where the opposite it true. “There’s almost no control over how the characters are going to be viewed,” according to MacDorman. “Oftentimes you’re able to view them from any direction. You can rotate around the arena and look at the characters from different directions. There’s not the same control over the presentation, the posing, the lighting, how it’s rendered and so on that you would have in film, so I think the uncanny valley in theory could be a larger problem.”

MacDorman adds, “Our brains are extremely good at processing human faces and detecting emotions from facial expressions, so even the small imperfections won’t go unnoticed.  We’re over trained in observing humans, but if we became similarly over-trained in observing digital doubles, that too might help us overcome the uncanny valley.”

Slashdot is a site geared towards the technology field by providing news and expert commentary on the latest technology through informative, balanced, and even humorous articles.

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School of Informatics and Computing

To read the article in its entirety:

MacDorman article

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