THE HANDICAP PRINCIPLE

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The Handicap Principle

Author : Amotz Zahavi
ISBN : 0198026021
Genre : Science
File Size : 38.70 MB
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Ever since Darwin, animal behavior has intrigued and perplexed human observers. The elaborate mating rituals, lavish decorative displays, complex songs, calls, dances and many other forms of animal signaling raise fascinating questions. To what degree can animals communicate within their own species and even between species? What evolutionary purpose do such communications serve? Perhaps most importantly, what can animal signaling tell us about our own non-verbal forms of communication? In The Handicap Principle, Amotz and Ashivag Zahavi offer a unifying theory that brilliantly explains many previously baffling aspects of animal signaling and holds up a mirror in which ordinary human behaviors take on surprising new significance. The wide-ranging implications of the Zahavis' new theory make it arguably the most important advance in animal behavior in decades. Based on 20 years of painstaking observation, the Handicap Principle illuminates an astonishing variety of signaling behaviors in animals ranging from ants and ameba to peacocks and gazelles. Essentially, the theory asserts that for animal signals to be effective they must be reliable, and to be reliable they must impose a cost, or handicap, on the signaler. When a gazelle sights a wolf, for instance, and jumps high into the air several times before fleeing, it is signaling, in a reliable way, that it is in tip-top condition, easily able to outrun the wolf. (A human parallel occurs in children's games of tag, where faster children will often taunt their pursuer before running). By momentarily handicapping itself--expending precious time and energy in this display--the gazelle underscores the truthfulness of its signal. Such signaling, the authors suggest, serves the interests of both predator and prey, sparing each the exhaustion of a pointless chase. Similarly, the enormous cost a peacock incurs by carrying its elaborate and weighty tail-feathers, which interfere with food gathering, reliably communicates its value as a mate able to provide for its offspring. Perhaps the book's most important application of the Handicap Principle is to the evolutionary enigma of animal altruism. The authors convincingly demonstrate that when an animal acts altruistically, it handicaps itself--assumes a risk or endures a sacrifice--not primarily to benefit its kin or social group but to increase its own prestige within the group and thus signal its status as a partner or rival. Finally, the Zahavis' show how many forms of non-verbal communication among humans can also be explained by the Handicap Principle. Indeed, the authors suggest that non-verbal signals--tones of voice, facial expressions, body postures--are quite often more reliable indicators of our intentions than is language. Elegantly written, exhaustively researched, and consistently enlivened by equal measures of insight and example, The Handicap Principle illuminates virtually every kind of animal communication. It not only allows us to hear what animals are saying to each other--and to understand why they are saying it--but also to see the enormously important role non-verbal behavior plays in human communication.
Category: Science

The Handicap Principle

Author : Amots Zehavi
ISBN : OCLC:1149341797
Genre : Animal behavior
File Size : 30.9 MB
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"Illuminates an astonishing variety of signaling behaviors in animals ranging from ants and amebas to peacocks, gazelles, and humans. Essentially, the theory asserts that for animal signals to be effective, they must be reliable, and to be reliable they must impose a cost, or handicap, on the signaler." Includes topics such as altruism, "body features, the evolution of art, verbal language versus nonverbal communication, and the role of sex in testing the social bond."--Jacket.
Category: Animal behavior

Handicap Principle

Author : Frederic P. Miller
ISBN : 6130641044
Genre : Science
File Size : 82.37 MB
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Please note that the content of this book primarily consists of articles available from Wikipedia or other free sources online. The handicap principle is a hypothesis originally proposed in 1975 by biologist Amotz Zahavi to explain how evolution may lead to honest or reliable signaling between animals who have an obvious motivation to bluff or deceive each other. The handicap principle suggests that reliable signals must be costly to the signaler, costing the signaler something that could not be afforded by an individual with less of a particular trait. For example, in the case of sexual selection, the theory suggests that animals of greater biological fitness signal this status through handicapping behaviour or morphology that effectively lowers this quality. The central idea is that sexually selected traits function like conspicuous consumption, signalling the ability to afford to squander a resource simply by squandering it. Receivers know that the signal indicates quality because inferior quality signallers cannot afford to produce such wastefully extravagant signals.
Category: Science

On Our Minds

Author : Eric M. Gander
ISBN : 0801873878
Genre : Science
File Size : 82.1 MB
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There is no question more fundamental to human existence than that posed by the nature-versus-nurture debate. For much of the past century, it was widely believed that there was no essential human nature and that people could be educated or socialized to thrive in almost any imaginable culture. Today, that orthodoxy is being directly and forcefully challenged by a new science of the mind: evolutionary psychology. Like the theory of evolution itself, the implications of evolutionary psychology are provocative and unsettling. Rather than viewing the human mind as a mysterious black box or a blank slate, evolutionary psychologists see it as a physical organ that has evolved to process certain types of information in certain ways that enables us to thrive only in certain types of cultures. In On Our Minds, Eric M. Gander examines all sides of the public debate between evolutionary psychologists and their critics. Paying particularly close attention to the popular science writings of Steven Pinker, Edward O. Wilson, Richard Dawkins, and Stephen Jay Gould, Gander traces the history of the controversy, succinctly summarizes the claims and theories of the evolutionary psychologists, dissects the various arguments deployed by each side, and considers in detail the far-reaching ramifications—social, cultural, and political—of this debate. Gander's lucid and highly readable account concludes that evolutionary psychology now holds the potential to answer our oldest and most profound moral and philosophical questions, fundamentally changing our self–perception as a species. -- Boguslaw Pawlowski
Category: Science

Animal Signaling And Function

Author : Duncan J. Irschick
ISBN : 9780470546000
Genre : Science
File Size : 38.28 MB
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The diversity of animal signals has been widely documented, and the generality of animal signals also tantalizingly suggests that there are common mechanisms that have selected for their origin. However, while much progress has been made on some fronts, we still lack a general theory about why the diversity of signaling structures exist. Our compilation will directly address this gap by focusing on an exciting new arena of sexual selection, namely using functional approaches to understand signaling. This approach is rooted in the idea that many signals are designed to transmit important functional imformation that is both important for issues of male quality (and hence male competition), and female choice. The increasing use of technology in sexual selection studies has enabled researchers to test whether signaling is either constrained by, or accurately transmits information about functional capacities. Further, in animals that fight vigorously, functional capacities such as endurance or strength may make the difference between winning and losing. This volume brings together a diverse collection of researchers who are actively investigating how function and signaling are related. These researchers use both a variety of methods and taxa to study animal signaling, and we believe that this integrative view is important to open up fresh vistas for why animal signals have evolved.
Category: Science

Mathematics In Western Culture

Author : Morris Kline
ISBN : 9780195007145
Genre : Literary Criticism
File Size : 77.32 MB
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This book gives a remarkably fine account of the influences mathematics has exerted on the development of philosophy, the physical sciences, religion, and the arts in Western life.
Category: Literary Criticism

Game Theory Evolving

Author : Herbert Gintis
ISBN : 0691009430
Genre : Political Science
File Size : 87.87 MB
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The study of strategic action (game theory) is moving from a formal science of rational behavior to an evolutionary tool kit for studying behavior in a broad array of social settings. In this problem-oriented introduction to the field, Herbert Gintis exposes students to the techniques and applications of game theory through a wealth of sophisticated and surprisingly fun-to-solve problems involving human (and even animal) behavior. Game Theory Evolving is innovative in several ways. First, it reflects game theory's expansion into such areas as cooperation in teams, networks, the evolution and diffusion of preferences, the connection between biology and economics, artificial life simulations, and experimental economics. Second, the book--recognizing that students learn by doing and that most game theory texts are weak on problems--is organized around problems, and introduces principles through practice. Finally, the quality of the problems is simply unsurpassed, and each chapter provides a study plan for instructors interested in teaching evolutionary game theory. Reflecting the growing consensus that in many important contexts outside of anonymous markets, human behavior is not well described by classical "rationality," Gintis shows students how to apply game theory to model how people behave in ways that reflect the special nature of human sociality and individuality. This book is perfect for upper undergraduate and graduate economics courses as well as a terrific introduction for ambitious do-it-yourselfers throughout the behavioral sciences.
Category: Political Science

Homo Mysterious

Author : David P. Barash
ISBN : 9780199910793
Genre : Science
File Size : 25.51 MB
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For all that science knows about the living world, notes David P. Barash, there are even more things that we don't know, genuine evolutionary mysteries that perplex the best minds in biology. Paradoxically, many of these mysteries are very close to home, involving some of the most personal aspects of being human. Homo Mysterious examines a number of these evolutionary mysteries, exploring things that we don't yet know about ourselves, laying out the best current hypotheses, and pointing toward insights that scientists are just beginning to glimpse. Why do women experience orgasm? Why do men have a shorter lifespan than women? Why does homosexuality exist? Why does religion exist in virtually every culture? Why do we have a fondness for the arts? Why do we have such large brains? And why does consciousness exist? Readers are plunged into an ocean of unknowns--the blank spots on the human evolutionary map, the terra incognita of our own species--and are introduced to the major hypotheses that currently occupy scientists who are attempting to unravel each puzzle (including some solutions proposed here for the first time). Throughout the book, readers are invited to share the thrill of science at its cutting edge, a place where we know what we don't know, and, moreover, where we know enough to come up with some compelling and seductive explanations. Homo Mysterious is a guide to creative thought and future explorations, based on the best, most current thinking by evolutionary scientists. It captures the allure of the "not-yet-known" for those interested in stretching their scientific imaginations.
Category: Science

Looking At How Species Compete Within Environments With Graphic Organizers

Author : Jason Porterfield
ISBN : 1404206132
Genre : Juvenile Nonfiction
File Size : 60.78 MB
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Describes how species interact, how members of the same species and other species compete, and invasive species, while introducing various types of graphic organization tools to reinforce concepts.
Category: Juvenile Nonfiction

Animal Signals

Author : John Maynard Smith
ISBN : 0198526857
Genre : Nature
File Size : 66.58 MB
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Why are animal signals reliable? This is the central problem for evolutionary biologists interested in signals. Of course, not all signals are reliable; but most are, otherwise receivers of signals would ignore them. A number of theoretical answers have been proposed and empirical studies made, but there still remains a considerable amount of confusion. The authors, one a theoretician the other a fieldworker, introduce a sense of order to this chaos. A significant cause of confusion has been the tendency for different researchers to use either the same term with different meanings, or different terms with the same meaning. The authors attempt to clarify these differences. A second cause of confusion has arisen because many biologists continue to assume that there is only one correct explanation for signal reliability. The authors argue that the reliability of signals is maintained in several ways, relevant in different circumstances, and that biologists must learn to distinguish between them. In this book they explain the different theories, give examples of signalling systems to which one or another theory applies, and point to the many areas where further work, both theoretical and empirical, is required.
Category: Nature