Has Uncanny Valley Feeling an Impact on Learning: A preliminary Experiment performed in a French Elementary School


In order to test the eventual impact of uncanny feeling, as theorized by the Mori’s concept of uncanny valley, on learning, we proposed to a class of 26 pupils of mean age 8 years 5 months to visualize The Polar Express and Dark Crystal movies and to test three months after their ability to remember movie’s hero, story and end. The high degree of uncanny feeling initially produced by The Polar Express was verified by means of a questionnaire and discussion in the class performed just after the first scene of the movie was stopped. When some weeks after the entire movies was shown to the pupils, this uncanny feeling appears to be weaker and when finally pupils were tested on their memories concerning both movies, answers got in The Polar Express case did not appear to be less relevant than those got for Dark Crystal. The reported experiment suggests that highly human-like faces do not prevent to transmit information to be learned by pupils, which tends to indicate that faces of future teaching robots could take human form.