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Sociobiology of Communicationan interdisciplinary perspective$
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Patrizia d'Ettorre and David P. Hughes

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199216840

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199216840.001.0001

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The handicap principle and signalling in collaborative systems

The handicap principle and signalling in collaborative systems

(p.1) CHAPTER 1 The handicap principle and signalling in collaborative systems
Sociobiology of Communication

Amotz Zahavi

Oxford University Press

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

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