Impact of stimulus uncanniness on speeded response

Kohske Takahashi*, Haruaki Fukuda, Kazuyuki Samejima, Katsumi Watanabe, Kazuhiro Ueda

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In the uncanny valley phenomenon, the causes of the feeling of uncanniness as well as the impact of the uncanniness on behavioral performances still remain open. The present study investigated the behavioral effects of stimulus uncanniness, particularly with respect to speeded response. Pictures of fish were used as visual stimuli. Participants engaged in direction discrimination, spatial cueing, and dot-probe tasks. The results showed that pictures rated as strongly uncanny delayed speeded response in the discrimination of the direction of the fish. In the cueing experiment, where a fish served as a task-irrelevant and unpredictable cue for a peripheral target, we again observed that the detection of a target was slowed when the cue was an uncanny fish. Conversely, the dot-probe task suggested that uncanny fish, unlike threatening stimulus, did not capture visual spatial attention. These results suggested that stimulus uncanniness resulted in the delayed response, and importantly this modulation was not mediated by the feelings of threat.

Original languageEnglish
Article number662
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2015 May 21


  • Uncanny
  • direction discrimination
  • dot-probe
  • reaction Time
  • spatial cueing
  • speeded response
  • uncanny valley

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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