"Build a face by selecting from the top and bottom portion in the grid below."
Just plain freaky.
I'm continually amazed at how the most psychologically disturbing photoshop jobs are fairly subtle. A few years ago, there was an ad where a woman's eyes were replaced by smiling, toothy mouths. Creeped me out. But I'll watch movies with dogs splitting open and becoming shape-changine aliens and toothy worms tearing their way out of people's chests all day without flinching.
Japanese roboticist Doctor Masahiro Mori is not exactly a household name - but, for the speculative fiction community at least, he could prove to be an important one. The reason why can be summed up in a simple, strangely elegant phrase that translates into English as "the uncanny valley". Though originally intended to provide an insight into human psychological reaction to robotic design, the concept expressed by this phrase is equally applicable to interactions with nearly any nonhuman entity. Stated simply, the idea is that if one were to plot emotional response against similarity to human appearance and movement, the curve is not a sure, steady upward trend. Instead, there is a peak shortly before one reaches a completely human "look" . . . but then a deep chasm plunges below neutrality into a strongly negative response before rebounding to a second peak where resemblance to humanity is complete.
Tee hee. Clever.