OPTIMAL INVESTMENT IN SOCIAL SIGNALS

Jean-Louis Dessalles
  • Evolution, March 2014, Wiley
  • DOI: 10.1111/evo.12378

OPTIMAL INVESTMENT IN SOCIAL SIGNALS: what should I do to attract friends

What is it about?

Though the theoretical existence of honest social signals has been established more than a decade ago, current models predict that only a minority of individuals should emit social signals. They cannot explain situations of generalized signaling, in which all individuals invest in social communication (and not only the most qualified ones).

Why is it important?

This is the first study showing that generalized social signaling can be evolutionarily stable. This result is relevant to situations in which virtually all individuals show the signaling behavior, such as grooming in primates, human language, and Web-mediated social networks. This paper, incidently, shows how we can escpace from the "Tragedy of the commons".

Perspectives

Jean-Louis Dessalles (Author)

It took me some time to understand the phenomenon and cast it into simple equations. Now it seems almost trivial, and I wonder why I did not come on these ideas earlier. One aspect which is less trivial is the role of noise in determining the "elite" equilibrium. It took me one additional year to figure this out.

The following have contributed to this page: Jean-Louis Dessalles and Jean-Louis Dessalles