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Cooperation, conflict and the evolution of communication

Cooperation, conflict and the evolution of communication
Cooperation, conflict and the evolution of communication
This paper presents a general model that covers signalling with and without conflicts of interest between signallers and receivers. Krebs and Dawkins (1984) argued that a conflict of interests will lead to an evolutionary arms race between manipulative signallers and sceptical receivers, resulting in ever more costly signals; whereas common interests will lead to cheap signals or "conspiratorial whispers". Previous simulation models of the evolution of communication have usually assumed either cooperative or competitive contexts. Simple game-theoretic and evolutionary simulation models are presented; they suggest that signalling will evolve only if it is in the interests of both parties. In a model where signallers may inform receivers as to the value of a binary random variable, if signalling is favoured at all, then signallers will always use the cheapest and the second cheapest signal available. Costly signalling arms races do not get started. A more complex evolutionary simulation is described, featuring continuously variable signal strengths and reception thresholds. As the congruence of interests between the parties becomes more clear-cut, successively cheaper signals are observed. The findings support a modified version of Krebs and Dawkins's argument. Several variations on the continuous-signalling model are explored.
349-370
Noble, J.
440f07ba-dbb8-4d66-b969-36cde4e3b764
Noble, J.
440f07ba-dbb8-4d66-b969-36cde4e3b764

Noble, J. (1999) Cooperation, conflict and the evolution of communication. Adaptive Behavior, 7 (3/4), 349-370.

Record type: Article

Abstract

This paper presents a general model that covers signalling with and without conflicts of interest between signallers and receivers. Krebs and Dawkins (1984) argued that a conflict of interests will lead to an evolutionary arms race between manipulative signallers and sceptical receivers, resulting in ever more costly signals; whereas common interests will lead to cheap signals or "conspiratorial whispers". Previous simulation models of the evolution of communication have usually assumed either cooperative or competitive contexts. Simple game-theoretic and evolutionary simulation models are presented; they suggest that signalling will evolve only if it is in the interests of both parties. In a model where signallers may inform receivers as to the value of a binary random variable, if signalling is favoured at all, then signallers will always use the cheapest and the second cheapest signal available. Costly signalling arms races do not get started. A more complex evolutionary simulation is described, featuring continuously variable signal strengths and reception thresholds. As the congruence of interests between the parties becomes more clear-cut, successively cheaper signals are observed. The findings support a modified version of Krebs and Dawkins's argument. Several variations on the continuous-signalling model are explored.

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Published date: 1999
Organisations: Agents, Interactions & Complexity

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Local EPrints ID: 265232
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/265232
PURE UUID: 1a8d2170-ee50-474f-a8ec-bc951abd0ca4

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Date deposited: 29 Feb 2008 16:21
Last modified: 19 Jul 2019 22:24

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