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The aesthetic appeal of prosthetic limbs and the Uncanny Valley : the role of personal characteristics in attraction

Sansoni, Stefania and Wodehouse, Andrew and McFadyen, Angus and Buis, Arjan (2015) The aesthetic appeal of prosthetic limbs and the Uncanny Valley : the role of personal characteristics in attraction. International Journal of Design, 9 (1). pp. 67-81. ISSN 1991-3761

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The aesthetics of prosthetic design has been a field of study subject to little investigation until now. This paper outlines how wearing a device that meets the aesthetic needs of users may achieve better body image and overall wellbeing. The research explores the aesthetic design of prostheses by testing the existence of a correlation between the Uncanny Valley (UV) and prosthetic devices. The Uncanny Valley states that a link between an aesthetic attraction to robots and their human likeness exists, and in particular that robots which look like humans generate eeriness. Additional to the empirical test of UV for prostheses, this work aims to explore whether or not the attraction is related to the personal characteristics of the participants. Results demonstrate that UV for prostheses does not exist as a high level of attraction for realistic devices was recorded. Visual attraction to non-human likeness devices exists and the discriminating factors include gender, the presence of amputation, nationality, and body shape.