The uncanny valley posits that very human-like robots are unsettling, a phenomenon amply demonstrated in adults but unexplored in children. Two hundred forty 3- to 18-year-olds viewed one of two robots (machine-like or very human-like) and rated their feelings toward (e.g., "Does the robot make you feel weird or happy?") and perceptions of the robot's capacities (e.g., "Does the robot think for itself?"). Like adults, children older than 9 judged the human-like robot as creepier than the machine-like robot-but younger children did not. Children's perceptions of robots' mental capacities predicted uncanny feelings: children judge robots to be creepy depending on whether they have human-like minds. The uncanny valley is therefore acquired over development and relates to changing conceptions about robot minds.
© 2017 The Authors. Child Development © 2017 Society for Research in Child Development, Inc.