Marketing Letters

, Volume 30, Issue 1, pp 1–12 | Cite as

Eliza in the uncanny valley: anthropomorphizing consumer robots increases their perceived warmth but decreases liking

  • Seo Young Kim
  • Bernd H. SchmittEmail author
  • Nadia M. Thalmann


Consumer robots are predicted to be employed in a variety of customer-facing situations. As these robots are designed to look and behave like humans, consumers attribute human traits to them—a phenomenon known as the “Eliza Effect.” In four experiments, we show that the anthropomorphism of a consumer robot increases psychological warmth but decreases attitudes, due to uncanniness. Competence judgments are much less affected and not subject to a decrease in attitudes. The current research contributes to research on artificial intelligence, anthropomorphism, and the uncanny valley phenomenon. We suggest to managers that they need to make sure that the appearances and behaviors of robots are not too human-like to avoid negative attitudes toward robots. Moreover, managers and researchers should collaborate to determine the optimal level of anthropomorphism.


Anthropomorphism Consumer robots Warmth Competence Uncanny valley 



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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Columbia Business SchoolColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Media InnovationNanyang Technological UniversitySingaporeSingapore

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