The handicap principle and signalling in collaborative systems

Amotz Zahavi

in Sociobiology of Communication

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199216840
Published online September 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780191712043 | DOI:
 The handicap principle and signalling in collaborative systems

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Signalling systems are by nature collaborations, since for a signal to be effective, the receiver has to cooperate with the signaller. The Handicap Principle (HP) ensures the reliability of signals, and is an essential component in all signals. The HP explains why signals evolve their particular patterns, and the relationship of the patterns to the messages encoded in them. The HP is used to understand signalling among Arabian Babblers — the patterns by which they advertise their qualities to mates, rivals, and predators. The HP also explains the altruism of babblers as a selfish investment in advertising prestige. Recent theoretical studies use the HP in interpreting the evolution of chemical signalling among organisms (pheromones) and within multi-cellular organisms (hormones), and the messages encoded in such chemical signals.

Keywords: babblers; Arabian Babblers; altruism; social prestige; chemical signalling; pheromones; hormones

Chapter.  5561 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences

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