Volume 21, Issue 3
  • ISSN 1572-0373
  • E-ISSN: 1572-0381
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‘Smart’ devices are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. While these sophisticated machines are useful for various purposes, they sometimes evoke feelings of eeriness or discomfort that constitute uncanniness, a much-discussed phenomenon in robotics research. Adult participants ( = 115) rated the uncanniness of a hypothetical future smart speaker that was described as possessing the mental capacities for experience, agency, neither, or both. The novel condition prompting participants to attribute both agency and experience to the speaker filled an important theoretical gap in the literature. Consistent with the mind perception hypothesis of uncanniness (MPH; Gray & Wegner, 2012), participants in the with-experience condition rated the device significantly higher in uncanniness than those in the control condition and the with-agency condition. Participants in the with-both (experience and agency) condition also rated the device higher in uncanniness than those in the control condition and the with-agency condition, although this latter difference only approached statistical significance.


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