The uncanny valley phenomenon has been studied for many years. In a recent study, Wang, Cheong, Dilks, and Rochat report that “Human replicas highly resembling people tend to elicit eerie sensations—a phenomenon known as the uncanny valley. . . . [the Wang team’s] findings link perceived uncanniness in androids [robots with human type features] to the temporal dynamics of face animacy [how “alive” it seems to be] perception.” The uncanny valley effect arises when a machine appears nearly lifelike but not exactly the same as a true human.
Malafouris’ work highlights the psychological implications of the things that fill our world. As he reports, “We think ‘with’ and ‘through’ things, not simply ‘about’ things. . . . to think and to feel, we need more than a brain. Brain regions work in concert, but they are never alone; rather, they are always parts of broader systems extending beyond skin and skull. . . . New artifacts create novel relations and understandings of the world. New materialities bring about new modes of acting and thinking. . . .
Knight, Agnihotri, Chan, and Hedaoo determined that we can correctly infer a robot’s personality based on the way that it moves. The team’s work focused on a robot vacuum cleaners and found that with no knowledge of the planned-in, “intended” robot personalities “people can correctly infer a robot’s personality solely by how it moves. . . . study participants also discerned intelligence from robot motion behaviors. . . . robot personality can influence engagement and trust. . . .
Coskun, Kaner, and Bostan interviewed people living in different types of households (alone or with family members, in one income or dual income families, etc.) who were classified as likely to be relatively early users of smart home technologies.
Pelowski and his team reviewed “factors that could influence our interactions with museum-based art.”
Faces are "faces"
Owned objects get conversations started, and that’s generally a good thing.
Rozenkrants, Wheeler, and Shiv studied how humans convey information about themselves through the products they choose.
Speer and Delgado report that thinking about happy memories enhances wellbeing when people are stressed.
It seems that acquiring things can indeed make us happy, as long as the new items align with our personality.