Auditory-Visual Speech Processing (AVSP) 2009

University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
September 10-13, 2009

Are Virtual Humans Uncanny?: Varying Speech, Appearance and Motion to Better Understand the Acceptability of Synthetic Humans

Takaaki Kuratate, Kathryn Ayers, Jeesun Kim, Marcia Riley, Denis Burnham

MARCS Auditory Laboratories, University of Western Sydney, Australia

In this experiment we examine the uncanny valley effect as a guide, albeit incomplete, to designing engaging humanlike interfaces. In this effect falling just short of perfection in creating synthetic humans elicits a pronounced negative reaction and here this is explored with talking head animations focusing on naturalness in speech, appearance and face motion. We implemented a set of techniques to manipulate naturalness for each of these aspects, and present the results of our study evaluating these stimuli. Outcomes of this method provide insights for the choice of the degree of realism or naturalness required for various talking heads.

Index Terms: uncanny valley, multi-modal perception, face animation

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Kuratate, Takaaki / Ayers, Kathryn / Kim, Jeesun / Riley, Marcia / Burnham, Denis (2009): "Are virtual humans uncanny?: varying speech, appearance and motion to better understand the acceptability of synthetic humans", In AVSP-2009, 65-69.