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Mathematical Models of Social Evolution: A Guide for the Perplexed$
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Richard McElreath and Robert Boyd

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780226558264

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226558288.001.0001

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Animal Communication

Animal Communication

Chapter:
(p.173) Chapter 5 Animal Communication
Source:
Mathematical Models of Social Evolution: A Guide for the Perplexed
Author(s):

Richard Mcelreath

Robert Boyd

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226558288.003.0005

The basic premise of game theory is that social life is like a giant game. If this is true, it is also true that life is less like chess and more like poker. In games like chess, information is entirely public. In games like poker, however, there is private information, and access to this information strongly determines the outcomes of contests. Communication is at least as important to animals as it is to card players. There are many kinds of communication. Information can be shared intentionally or accidentally, be inherently unfakeable or strategic. This chapter examines animal communication and animal signals, focusing on repeat play and cheap signaling, altruism, and social learning. First, it presents models in which intentional communication, signals, can affect the outcomes of a game. Second, it considers examples of models in which costly signaling theory is put to the test. Third, it looks at the Sir Philip Sidney game to see how costly signaling theory works. Finally, it considers two-locus genetic models and how to model the evolutionary dynamics of information within a population.

Keywords:   animal communication, animal signals, repeat play, cheap signaling, altruism, social learning, costly signaling theory, Sir Philip Sidney game, genetic models, evolutionary dynamics

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