Now you feel it, now you don’t: How observing robots and people can make you feel eerie

Susanne Quadflieg, Israr Ul-Haq, Nikolaos Mavridis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
208 Downloads (Pure)


Robots seemingly in possession of an experiential mind, as well as humans allegedly incapable thereof, have been reported to elicit feelings of eeriness in their perceivers. The current work re-examined this claim, asking participants to rate both robots and humans in various social situations regarding their mind capacities (e.g., emotional capability, intelligence), non-mind qualities (e.g., animacy, usefulness), and overall appeal (e.g., eeriness, likeability). It was found that feelings of eeriness towards both targets formed a distinct emotional response that was separable from simple dislike. Yet, unexpectedly, eeriness towards both targets intensified, the less they were seen as possessing a typical human mind. For robots, however, this association was less consistent. Moreover, eeriness towards robots, but not towards humans, was most strongly predicted by a lack of perceived usefulness. These results indicate that mind attributions affect people’s attitudes towards each other more strongly than their attitudes towards humanoid robots.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-247
Number of pages37
JournalInteraction Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2016


  • impresion formation
  • person perception
  • robot companion
  • social robotics
  • uncanny valley


Dive into the research topics of 'Now you feel it, now you don’t: How observing robots and people can make you feel eerie'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this