Archive for January 8th, 2016

January 8, 2016

Uncanny

Freud

The psychological concept of the uncanny [uhn-kan-ee] was first described by Sigmund Freud in his essay ‘Das Unheimliche’ as something that is strangely familiar, rather than just mysterious.┬áBecause the uncanny is familiar, yet incongruous, it has been seen as creating cognitive dissonance within the experiencing subject, due to the paradoxical nature of being simultaneously attracted to yet repulsed by an object.

This cognitive dissonance (discomfort stemming from holding conflicting beliefs) often leads to an outright rejection of the object, as one would rather reject than rationalize, as in the ‘uncanny valley’ effect (people are not as affected in an emotional way by an object if it is easy to tell it is not human, but after a certain point, they start to feel emotionally about it, but feel bad emotions because it is so nonhuman).

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