Page 1

THE UNIVERSITY OF BRISTOL PSYCHOLOGY MAGAZINE VOLUME 1, ISSUE 2

OUR MUSICAL ROOTS

Does music-making have an evolutionary basis?

ENGENDERED PROBLEMS

A comment on female academics in psychology

VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2 | PSYCHE | 1  


s t n e t n o c The source of music Scott Claessens Levelling the playing field Madeleine Dwyer Improving eyewitness memory recall Imogen Smith After dark / Nothing to fear Julie Golsheva The winter blues & summer sadness Abbey Li Attachment & mental health Molly Stephenson Jumping the uncanny valley Joseph Daly

4 6 8 10/11 12 14 16


ed i tor’s correspondence

S spring grows A nearer to summer, we invite you

to peruse the second issue of Psyche, the University of Bristol’s psychology magazine. Once again, we present in these pages the fine contributions our psychology students have to offer.

The launch of Psyche in January was a great success, and our gratitude goes to the staff and students who made it possible. We hope you enjoyed the first issue! If you have not yet read it, you can find it online at www.bristol.ac.uk/ expsych/psyche Among other readers, it was enjoyed by visitors to the department’s UCAS days. This second issue takes a different flavour, with two articles

on the psychology of media. One considers the evolutionary roots of music and another questions whether video game animation can ever jump the ‘uncanny valley’ of realism. As well, our contributors discuss the effect of seasonal changes on mood, attachment on mental wellbeing, and mode of questioning on memory recall.

Editorial Team Editor-in-Chief & Layout Design Julie Lee Manuscript Editors Kirsty Pinner Lora Thomson Olivia Winton Robyn Dean Cover Art James Ormiston

Lastly, we have two new types of contributions: a comment piece and two poems with a psychological tilt.

depicts the experience of music and strangeness of the ‘uncanny valley’.

Thanks to all those who sent in articles! We encourage every reader to submit your work to future issues.

psyche.editor @gmail.com

The cover was painted by University of Bristol student James Ormiston. It

Contact Us

Find Us

ON FACEBOOK: facebook.com /psyche.magazine ON TWITTER: @psyche_magazine


THE

source

OF

s Music

M

USIC is one of those things that touch everyone’s lives in one way or another. Some people simply enjoy listening to the radio, while others go out of their way to find and indulge in new music. There are also those who create music, like myself. Being a curious psychology student too, it wasn’t long before I started to question this activity that we all seem to get so much enjoyment out of.

Why are human beings musical? How have we developed the capacity to create songs and melodies? Could this ability have evolved by natural selection? In my reading, I came across two opposing theories of the evolution of music

in human beings, and I would like to share them with you now.

Psychologist Steven Pinker referred to music as an “auditory cheesecake”. Put simply, he suggested that music stimulates the mind in different pleasurable ways, but is no more than a by-product of other evolutionary adaptations, such as language. He has a point. At face value, the ability to think musically does not really improve the overall inclusive fitness of a species (in terms of Darwin’s natural selection) – or at

4 | PSYCHE | VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2  

least, not in the same way that language or vision does. It doesn’t help with foraging for food, or avoiding predators. So, it may be no more that an indulgence; one that has not evolved through natural selection, but arisen through human culture. However, Geoffrey Miller has different ideas about the origin of musicality. These ideas are rooted in one of Darwin’s lesser known theories: the process of sexual selection. The most well-known example of this process is the peacock’s tail. Peacocks often have extremely large, colourful, ornate tails. Importantly, these are heavy for the peacocks to carry around, and easy for pred-


ators to spot – so, having the tail is costly. While this may seem counterintuitive to evolutionary principles, it fits nicely with sexual selection theory. Here, the peacock’s tail is acting as a reliable indicator of an individual’s general ‘fitness’. Weak peacocks are unable to grow large tails and survive, but strong peacocks can. This is critical information for peahens who are looking to choose a mate; they want to reproduce with a peacock who has good genes in order to give their offspring the best chance at survival and reproduction. Therefore, they will likely choose the peacock with the bigger tail, and so the adaptation propagates.

– could be used as reliable indicators of traits like self-confidence, cognitive flexibility, motor coordination and general intelligence.

So, without enough formal evidence on either side, the question of where our musical instincts came from is still a little bit up in the air.

To my knowledge, not much research has been done to test these hypotheses. However, one just has to look at the history of rock and roll music to see the validity of Miller’s proposition. Bands like Led Zeppelin and The Rolling Stones had groupies queuing up Could music be an at their dressing room example of such an doors every night. While indicator in humans? their music did nothing In one of his articles, to increase their likeliMiller speculates that hood of survival, they different facets of were most probably music – for example, several times more sexsinging, rhythm, vir- ually active than the tuosic performance average non-musician. and melodic creativity

Both Steven Pinker and Geoffrey Miller make some interesting points, but this kind of evolution-based psychological questioning tends to create hypotheses which are just not testable in real research. For the time being, then, it’s best to contemplate both theories as potential candidates. As a musician though, I know exactly which explanation I prefer! Scott Claessens Second year BSc(Hons) Psychology

VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2 | PSYCHE | 5  


h e t g n i l l e v d l e fi e g l n i y pla Madeleine Dwyer critically examines the state of female academics in psychology

G

IVEN the less than encouraging statistics of women gaining top positions in the field of psychology compared to the burgeoning number of enthusiastic female undergraduates, it may be time to review the reasons why this disparity remains. In trying to get to grips with this complex issue, I asked for the views of some of the female academics in our own department.

demics, despite the fact that females make up on average over 80% of undergraduates. This pattern can be seen in universities all over the country, with an average of 22% female professors compared to the 45% of female academics. Why is the attrition of females into the higher ranks so high? Dr Kazanina posits that it could be due to the constraints of balancing work and maternity at once:

“Discussion of women’s issues usually focuses on certain narrow time intervals such as pregnancy or the period immediately post maternity. In reality women’s challenges span well beyond those narrow time intervals. Children get sick, dinners need to be ready on time, et cetera. More often than not, these issues are up to the woman to deal with. It seems that academia has Dr Nina Kazanina not yet found a fair way of dealing with these noted that this glardiscrepancies and incorporating it with the mering inequality can it-based system that academia is and should be be seen here in the based upon.” University of Bristol’s

School of Experimental Psychology, with The University of Bristol thankfully has initiatives only approximately for supporting female academics with children20% female aca- making it possible to combine family and science. 6 | PSYCHE | VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2  


Gender breakdown for US scientists with PhDs employed in academia

A potential solution to this problem, then, could be legislation making maternity and paternity leave more equal — thus sharing the ‘burden’ of childcare between two partners. This way, female academics can still pursue their scientific careers. However, there are some positives to being a female academic.

Unfortunately, this trend highlights a much more insidious problem that many female academics encounter with STEM subjects, that is, stereotype threat. This is a phenomenon where simply being reminded of gender stereotypes causes under-performance on typically ‘male-dominated’ tasks such as mathematics tests.

‘John’ for ‘Jennifer’ on academic CVs lowered others’ opinion of their abilities. This also has knock-on effects to the gender pay-gap.

These investigations led me to Professor Jan Noyes, who in 2012 became not only the first female Head of Psychology but also the first female Head in the entire Faculty of Science Dr Kazanina notes Another obstacle at the University of that students usually feel less intimidated women face is the Bristol. Prof Noyes by female lecturers, unconscious under-es- also agrees with Dr although perhaps not timation of their abilities Kazanina’s views about always rightly, and find based solely on gender the ‘problem of child it easier to disclose information. For exam- care’, noting that this both their academic ple, Moss-Racusin et is probably the reason and personal con- al. (2012) found that behind many women cerns or issues. simply substituting being denied deserved VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2 | PSYCHE | 7  


promotions. However, Prof the discrimination against

Noyes women

notes that much of is far more subtle:

“I liken the obstacles to icebergs, which tend to be large and visible, and you can see them coming. But actually, most of the iceberg is hidden below the surface and cannot be seen. So in the workplace, there is a lot happening which is effectively discriminating women. For example, if I am near the reception in psychology, visitors who do not know me assume I am the receptionist. Would this happen if I was a man in a suit?”

What is being done about this? Prof Noyes argues that society is slowly changing but will require the efforts of individuals, universities and legislation alike. Unfortunately, the University of Bristol seemingly still has a long way to go and many improvements to make before we can drop this issue.

IMPROVING EYEWITNESS ME M ORY R E C A L L : the cognitive interview

D

Insight into the causes of inaccuracy in an eyewitness testimony can spur psychological One would hope that research into improvmemory recall. the truth is the only con- ing tribution an eyewitness The interviewing proprovides in a criminal investigation. However, cedure can directly it is regrettably difficult affect the retrieval of a for an eyewitness to memory and thus influabide by this oath, even ence the accuracy of with their best inten- the witness’ account. tions, as there is an The Standard Interview abundance of areas in was the first official which memory can fail. procedure that was O you swear to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

8 | PSYCHE | VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2  

introduced with the aim of enhancing memory accuracy, and comprised of asking the witness to freely recall their memory of the event, then questioning them to further understand what happened. This system was criticised as the manner of questioning could influence the interviewee’s recall, possibly distorting the memory.


Also, the interviewer tended to focus on specific aspects of what the witness had said, potentially missing other crucial information. It became obvious that improvements were needed in order to minimise the inaccuracy in recall. These problems led to the development of the cognitive interview, proposed by Fisher and Geiselman in 1984. Their structure provides a basis for all modern police interviews. They created it based on three main principles of memory: that memory is made up of several features, the encoding-specificity theory (which says that a memory is more accurate if recalled in the same state — emotional/mental or location as when encoded), and that there may be more than one retrieval cue. The four fundamental stages of the cognitive interview use these three principles in order to generate a hopefully accurate recall. First, the witness is

encouraged to remember the event in as much detail as possible to recreate the scene of the crime. Then, they are asked to report everything they can remember — however trivial the information seems. Next, they are asked to report the events in different orders, for example from a certain point to the finish, or even backwards. Finally, they are asked to give an account of the crime from a different perspective - for example, what another witness might have seen. The first stage is designed according to encoding-specificity theory and attempts to recreate the situation, particularly emotionally, for the eyewitness. The second stage provides an initial memory, revealing the aspects that the eyewitness found most salient. The last two procedures are conducted as an attempt to find different, hidden retrieval cues that may allow the witness to expand on their memory without being influenced by questions.

There is a considerable amount of evidence to support the validity of the cognitive interview. The principles of memory on which it is based are widely respected and the direct experimental evidence is promising (Geiselman et al., 1986). However, there are some reservations about the procedure. For instance, Memon et al. (1997) conducted an experiment which found that the cognitive interview was no more effective than the standard interview. Overall, the consensus is that it provides a strong basis for the modern interviewing procedures, though it must be recognised that the memories recalled may not be 100% accurate. Nevertheless, the theories are constantly being revised and improved. It is definitely an exciting improvement in our ability to generate a more accurate recall. Imogen Smith First year BSc(Hons) Psychology

VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2 | PSYCHE | 9  


e after dark After dark I think about the rules I have been taught to follow: How to walk and talk and dress in public, What is rude and how to fake politeness, What is right and wrong to want, Whom I should respect and trust, When to be ashamed and when I should be proud… And all the expectations, they hold hands – Lingering around the room, Stringing together like cobwebs, Weaving around my hopes and fantasies amassed From childhood travels and bad television. After dark I try to remember at what point I stopped thinking for myself, and when I let the expectations get a hold on me; At what point did I lose compassion for myself, When did I start to feel shame Just because I thought I should – Just because somebody pointed their finger. I think maybe since a past life I have been holding my soul hostage I have suspended my gut instinct Thinking first what they would think of me, By now not knowing what I really think of me. But now I’m itching to find out What it’s like along the road less travelled Surfing on the edge of courage, I can’t help But promise my Self to set me free, To look for me beneath the cobwebs – Not quite knowing what I’ll find After dark. 10 | PSYCHE | VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2  


nothing to fear

You come into my life so stealthily, You sneak in when I look away; When I don’t have time or sense to notice you come in You take on new forms, you masquerade As men and women and beautiful things, You seduce me when I am weak; Without invitation you get under my skin.

You deceived me once again. You are red-handed and without remorse again; As your form is bared to my newly opened eyes Again I get the feeling that ‘I should have known’. When you tricked me so and you promised me truth, You were a disease sucking dry my youth. In ancient books they call you the devil. I ask you not for any recompense – For I know my human heart will let you in Again. I could become immune only in death; So I will fight you in life, in love and light. I will choose the little things, I will choose home, When you bait me, I will choose Right. Now that you lost, I will get on with my life, I will welcome the changes it brings (The changes you told me to run from) For our separation is my new beginning; Now that I won, I shall swim in the bittersweet knowledge That I have nothing real to fear But you.

VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2 | PSYCHE | 11  


w i n t e r blues summer & sadness

the I

AM sure most of us have already started daydreaming about the summer holidays, wanting nothing more than to have the sun beaming down on us rather than this constant downpour of rain here in Bristol. Indeed, the typical winter lifestyle of Bristol students is miserable! Students are forced to stay indoors during bad weather, wrapped in numerous layers of clothing due to attempts to minimise heating expenses.

(American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Interestingly, SAD is not referred to as a unique mood disorder; instead, it is termed a ‘course specifier’, used as a description in patients with depressive or bipolar disorders.

Nevertheless, the symptoms of SAD are somewhat distinct from those of depression. Although both types include sleep disturbances, social withdrawal and lethargy, people with major Despite this seem- depression tend to ingly depressive regime, experience a loss of many people can be appetite while SAD is more troubled by sea- associated with oversonal changes. These eating, especially with individuals are said to carbohydrates (Arbisi, suffer from seasonal Levine, Nerenberg, & affective disorder (SAD), Wolf, 1996). Indeed, a condition in which carbohydrate conpeople with usually sumption is reported good mental health to improve dysphoric become depressed dur- moods (Corsica, & ing winter or summer Spring, 2008). So, 12 | PSYCHE | VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2  

perhaps binging on chocolate when you are sad is justified and not just a cliché! However, the mood alleviation is very shortlived (Macht, & Mueller, 2007), only lasting a few minutes, and so this form of “self-medication” is evidently limitedinitseffectiveness. A more efficient treatment for SAD, or any depressive disorder, is phototherapy (Terman, 2007). This involves exposing people to bright light for several hours a day. This choice of treatment is unsurprising, as SAD is argued to be a result of abnormal melatonin secretion (Lewy, Lefler, Emens, & Bauer, 2006), a hormone that regulates sleep patterns that is also heavily influenced by light. The significant role of melatonin in SAD would


rationalize the aforementioned symptoms of lethargy and sleep disturbances in this disorder. Others have proposed that SAD has a genetic basis (Madden, Heath, Rosenthal, & Martin, 1996), with at least 29% of the variance in seasonal mood disorders attributable to genetic factors influencing serotonin production. SAD is also claimed to be an evolved adaptation, a variant of a hibernation response in our ancestral past (Nesse, 1998). This would make sense, as changes in weather, especially with winter, are likely to constrain food and other resources that are needed for survival. The difficulties of living in cold weather can be illustrated by many species hibernating. Therefore, it is understandable that we would also change our behaviours and withdraw accordingly. No matter, summer is fast approaching, now that clocks are set forward for British Summer Time!

References American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing. Arbisi, P. A., Levine, A. S., Nerenberg, J., & Wolf, J. (1996). Seasonal alteration in taste detection and recognition threshold in seasonal affective disorder: the proximate source of carbohydrate craving. Psychiatry research, 59(3), 171-182. Corsica, J. A., & Spring, B. J. (2008). Carbohydrate craving: a double-blind, placebo-controlled test of the self-medication hypothesis. Eating behaviors, 9(4), 447-454. Lewy, A. J., Lefler, B. J., Emens, J. S., & Bauer, V. K. (2006). The circadian basis of winter depression. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 103(19), 7414-7419. Macht, M., & Mueller, J. (2007). Immediate effects of chocolate on experimentally induced mood states. Appetite, 49(3), 667-674. Madden, P. A., Heath, A. C., Rosenthal, N. E., & Martin, N. G. (1996). Seasonal changes in mood and behavior: the role of genetic factors. Archives of General Psychiatry, 53(1), 47-55. Nesse, R. (1998). Emotional disorders in evolutionary perspective. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 71(4), 397-415. Terman, M. (2007). Evolving applications of light therapy. Sleep medicine reviews, 11(6), 497-507. Abbey Li Second year BSc(Hons) Psychology VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2 | PSYCHE | 13  


H

ATTACHMENT & MENTAL HEALTH

OW responsible is the nature of the attachments we form with others in determining how likely we are to develop a mental health problem? Recent evidence suggests that those with insecure attachment styles are more at risk of developing a psychopathology than those with secure attachment styles. Indeed, findings suggest that attachment styles play a significant role in the formation of depression, anxiety and many other personality disorders.

The Three Styles

The ability to form attachments is an innate predisposition, hardwired when we are born to ensure our proximity to protective others (attachment figures), in order to achieve security and thus ensure our survival. When our biology and the quality of our environment

– or rather the quality of the care-giving we have received – combine, it gives rise to our attachment style, and the focus of this article.

It is widely regarded that there are three main, dispositional, attachment styles: secure, avoidant (otherwise known as dismissive), and anxious-ambivalent (or preoccupied). These three styles make up the general population at the following percentages: 60% will have a secure attachment style, 20% an avoidant attachment style, and 20% an anxious-ambivalent attachment style (Hazan & Shaver, 1987). It is the latter two, those classed as insecure, which have been linked in the literature to psychopathologies and the development of mental health problems.

14 | PSYCHE | VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2  

Depression

In their study on the attachment style of dating couples, Simpson, Rholes, & Nelligan (1992) revealed that those with a secure attachment style behaved differently than those with a more avoidant attachment style, exhibiting less physical contact and lower levels of emotional support. This initial difference in behaviours between secure and insecure attachment styles has since been given more weight due to the development of research into the effect of insecure attachment styles on the risk of developing depression. Bifulco, Moran, Ball and Bernazzini (2002) found that the presence of an avoidant attachment style was related to the development of clinical depression, suggesting that the relationship between


attachment style and clinical depression is mediated by the degree of insecurity in relation to an avoidant attachment style. Similarly, Fonagy et al. (1996) found that those with bipolar disorder (a depressive disorder) were significantly more likely to have dismissive attachment styles than others. Cote-Detke and Kobak (1996), on the other hand, found that those with preoccupied attachment styles reported higher levels of depressive symptoms than those with secure attachment styles, suggesting contention between findings in terms of the two insecure attachment styles (avoidant and anxious-ambivalent) and their relation to clinical depression. It has been suggested that this phenomenon may be explained through the heterogeneous nature of depression (Cassidy & Shaver, 2008), dividing those with depression into those who present more self-focused (internalising) symptoms and those with less self-focused (externalising)

symptoms. Support for this dichotomy can be seen in Muris, Meester, and Van den Berg’s 2003 study which found adolescents with avoidant or anxious-ambivalent attachment styles displayed higher levels of internalising (behaviours that are turned inward) and externalising (behaviours that are directed outward) symptoms. This finding suggested a link between the two differing insecure attachment styles and the internalising and externalising behaviours associated with depression.

Other disorders

Recent studies have also presented a link between insecure attachment styles and a great number of other recognised personality disorders. The majority of evidence in support of this link comes from Rosenstein and Horowitz (1996) who studied the attachment styles of 60 psychiatrically-hospitalised adolescents. These authors found that adolescents with a dismissive attachment style were significantly more likely to have a

wide range of psychopathologies, ranging from narcissistic or antisocial personality disorder to conduct or substance abuse disorders. They also had higher levels of self-reported antisocial, narcissistic, and paranoid personality traits than other attachment styles. Similarly, those adolescents with a preoccupied attachment style were more likely to have a borderline, schizotypal, or histrionic personality disorder, or obsessive-compulsive disorder, with anxious and dysthymic personality traits reported in higher levels than the other attachment styles. Patrick et al. (1994) provided results that support this data, showing that all women diagnosed with borderline personality disorder in their study were also classified as having a preoccupied attachment style. Equally-significant data in regards to demonstrating a link between insecure attachment styles and psychopathology can be seen

VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2 | PSYCHE | 15  


in a study by Tyrell et al. (1999), who found that 89% of their participants who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia had dismissive attachment styles.

Implications

In light of the recent research into insecure attachment styles and psychopathology, Shorey and Snyder (2006) recommend adult attachment style be assessed as an individual difference variable within research into the out-

come of psychotherapies. Indeed, research demonstrates that insecure attachment styles play a fundamental role in how individuals perceive and respond to their environment and, thus, how clients will respond to treatments.

disorders that involve directing attention away from one’s own feelings (externalising) and preoccupied attachment associated with disorders that involve the immersion in one’s own feelings (internalising) (Cassidy & Shaver, 2008). This Certainly, the evi- knowledge ought to dence demonstrates be used in the develthat psychiatric disor- opment and tailoring of ders are almost always psychiatric treatments. linked with insecure Molly Stephenson attachment styles, with Second year dismissive attachment BSc(Hons) Psychology being associated with

JUMPING THE UNCANNY VALLEY I

:

Can next generation consoles do it?

N 2004, two animated films, Pixar’s The Incredibles and The Polar Express, were released. The former was a great success whilst the latter was a box-office flop. With similar budgets and

big name actors, what caused the difference?

:

what is known as the ‘Uncanny Valley’. This phenomenon describes The reason The Polar the way that the more Express, with its real- life-like something istic motion-capture becomes, the more animation, failed to familiar and appealing win over audiences it is until a point where has been attributed to the subtle differences

16 | PSYCHE | VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2  


between what is really alive and the mere illusion of life becomes unsettling (see right). The term was coined by roboticist Masahiro Mori (1970), though some references can be traced back to the work of Jentsch in 1906, and Freud’s work. Today, it’s almost impossible to have not encountered the uncanny valley with the sheer volume of CGI in TV, films, and games. What causes this experience and can new technology overcome it?

whereby any irregu- by the uncanny valley larities in appearance could be used in some may be interpreted horror games to make as an indication of some characters (often disease which then zombies) more terrifying. elicits a form of disgust. But what about The uncanny valley Similarly, some sug- games that aren’t trying emerges at 12 months gest that as it becomes to terrify their players? of age, which suggests more difficult to iden- Could new technology, that as infants become tify an agent as alive or including next generaincreasingly special- not, we are reminded tion consoles, PS4 and ised at recognising of death, an infamously Xbox One, create realhuman faces, they also uncomfortable sub- istic characters without become more sensitive ject. Furthermore, the plunging into the depths to any irregularities. The mere inability to decide of the uncanny valley? looking preferences of whether an agent is macaque monkeys alive or not and how In one study, parshow that they too to respond appro- ticipants rated the prefer real monkey priately elicits a form strangeness and faces or unrealistic CG of cognitive disso- humanness of various faces to a realistic CG nance, a feeling often computer generated face, suggesting that described as what a characters compared it is perhaps an evolu- vegetarian might expe- to ratings for a human. tionary advantage. To rience if they ate meat. Among these charthis end, the uncanny acters was ‘Emily’, valley may be a form Arguably, the feelings who was hailed as of disease avoidance, of unease produced the ‘bridge’ across VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2 | PSYCHE | 17  


gameplay - due to technological restraints. However, developers remain optimistic that these hurdles can be overcome. More recent technology from Nvidia, unveiled in 2013, demonstrated the possibility of photo-realistic the uncanny valley software used to cre- animation in real time. when the first demon- ate Emily has already This means that gamstration videos were been utilised in many ers may soon be able released. Indeed, in games, including Call to enjoy photo-realistic the study ‘Emily’ came of Duty and Metal Gear characters (top right). very close to the ratings for real humans in terms of ‘familiarity’ and ‘humanness’ (see right). However, the fact that people were still able to distinguish her from the human means that the uncanny valley is arguably an ‘uncanny wall’ that may never be overcome. As we become more and more familiar with computer-generated images, we may also becoming more sensitive to the technical trickery used to create these characters. This makes it ever more difficult create truly believable characters. Despite

this,

the

Solid, but with limAs for next generaited success. Further, tion consoles, PS4’s the software was only press release showused for cut-scene ani- cased an impressive mations, rather than 1.5 minutes of an old for real-time produc- man animated in realtion of visuals during time (middle right).

18 | PSYCHE | VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2  


Similarly, the developers of Xbox One game ‘Quantum Break’ made the bold claim that they had ‘jumped straight over the uncanny valley’ (bottom right). Opinions vary on whether or not these examples really show that the uncanny valley has been conquered, but it seems these consoles’ capacity for creating life-like graphics may have great potential to ameliorate its effects.

sufficiently advanced to allow a full range of interactions between gamers and other characters. After all, machines have to compete with millions of years of evolution and

Unfortunately, it is equally possible these advancements may actually exacerbate it! Only time, and more games, will tell. 100 billion brain cells to produce something Gaming experts sug- akin to normal human gest that even if gaming interaction. Thus, it is graphics looked indis- unsurprising that gamtinguishable from ing platforms have thus the real world, the far only offered very uncanny valley would basic interactions with still exist until Artificial non-player characters. Intelligence was also

New consoles are likely to show some significant improvements in AI, but undoubtedly there is a long way to go before we will be able to naturally interact with a game’s characters. Therefore, amidst claims that the uncanny valley is more like an unpassable wall and that it will remain until both graphics and AI are sufficiently advanced, the companies behind the PS4, Xbox One, and all future games for these consoles are still striving to overcome the uncanny valley. Even if this generation of consoles fails to succeed, they will undoubtedly still play an important role in paving the way for future consoles that may one day see video games pass the uncanny valley. Joseph Daly Second year BSc(Hons) Psychology

VOLUME 1 | ISSUE 2 | PSYCHE | 19  


psyche.editor@gmail.com facebook.com/psyche.magazine @psyche_magazine

Psyche - Vol 1 Issue 2  
Psyche - Vol 1 Issue 2  

Second issue of the University of Bristol's psychology magazine!

Advertisement