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Upper- and lower-limb amputees show reduced levels of eeriness for images of prosthetic hands

Research output: Contribution to journal › Article

  • Gavin Gavin Buckingham
  • Johnny Parr
  • Greg Wood
  • Sarah Day
  • Alix Chadwell
  • Adam Galpin
  • John Head
  • Laurence Kenny
  • Professor Peter Kyberd
  • Emma Gowen
  • Ellen Poliakoff
The uncanny phenomenon describes the feeling of unease associated with seeing an image which is close to appearing human. Prosthetic hands in particular are well-known to induce this effect. Little is known, however, about this phenomenon from the viewpoint of prosthesis users. We studied perceptions of eeriness and human-likeness for images of different types of mechanical, cosmetic, and anatomical hands in upper-limb prosthesis users (n=9), lower-limb prosthesis users (n=10), prosthetists (n=16), control participants with no prosthetic training (n=20), and control participants who were trained to use a myoelectric prosthetic hand simulator (n=23). Both the upper- and lower-limb prosthesis user groups showed a reduced uncanny phenomenon (i.e., significantly lower levels of eeriness) for cosmetic prosthetic hands compared to the other groups, with no concomitant reduction in how these stimuli were rated in terms of human-likeness. However, a similar effect was found neither for prosthetists with prolonged visual experience of prosthetic hands, nor for the group with short-term training with the simulator. These findings in the prosthesis users therefore seem likely to be related to limb absence or prolonged experience with prostheses.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychonomic Bulletin & Review
Publication statusAccepted for publication - 9 Apr 2019


  • Uncanny Valley Buckingham accepted

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    Accepted author manuscript (Post-print), 440 KB, PDF-document

    Due to publisher’s copyright restrictions, this document is not freely available to download from this website until: 1/01/50

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