Uncanny valley: A preliminary study on the acceptance of Malaysian urban and rural population toward different types of robotic faces

T. T. Tay, Raymond Low, H. J. Loke, Y. L. Chua, Y. H. Goh

Research output: Contribution to journalConference article


The proliferation of robotic technologies in recent years brings robots closer to humanities. There are many researches on going at various stages of development to bring robots into our homes, schools, nurseries, elderly care centres, offices, hospitals and factories. With recently developed robots having tendency to have appearance which increasingly displaying similarities to household animals and humans, there is a need to study the existence of uncanny valley phenomenon. Generally, the acceptance of people toward robots increases as the robots acquire increasing similarities to human features until a stage where people feel very uncomfortable, eerie, fear and disgust when the robot appearance become almost human like but not yet human. This phenomenon called uncanny valley was first reported by Masahiro Mori. There are numerous researches conducted to measure the existence of uncanny valley in Japan and European countries. However, there is limited research reported on uncanny valley phenomenon in Malaysia so far. In view of the different cultural background and exposure of Malaysian population to robotics technology compared to European or East Asian populations, it is worth to study this phenomenon in Malaysian context. The main aim of this work is to conduct a preliminary study to determine the existence of uncanny valley phenomenon in Malaysian urban and rural populations. It is interesting to find if there are any differences in the acceptance of the two set of populations despite of their differences. Among others the urban and rural populations differ in term of the rate of urbanization and exposure to latest technologies. A set of four interactive robotic faces and an ideal human model representing the fifth robot are used in this study. The robots have features resembling a cute animal, cartoon character, typical robot and human-like. Questionnaire surveys are conducted on respondents from urban and rural populations. Survey data collected are analysed to determine the preferred features in a humanoid robot, the acceptance of respondents toward the robotic faces and the existence of uncanny valley phenomenon. Based on the limited study, it is found that the uncanny valley phenomenon existed in both the Malaysian urban and rural population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number012012
JournalIOP Conference Series: Materials Science and Engineering
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Apr 2018
Event3rd International Conference on Science, Technology, and Interdisciplinary Research, IC-STAR 2017 - Bandar Lampung, Indonesia
Duration: 18 Sep 201720 Sep 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Engineering(all)

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