Hunger game: Is honesty between animals always the best policy?
- January 10, 2013
- A study by Simon Huttegger, logic & philosophy of science associate professor, and Kevin Zollman, lps Ph.D. alum, 2007, is featured in Scientific American January 10, 2013
From Scientific American:
Imagine you’re a puny peacock, rendered weak by bad genes or poor nutrition. You hope to attract a peahen, who mainly cares about the length of your tail. Growing a long tail would greatly enhance your sex appeal, but the encumbrance might prevent you from fleeing a predator that a fitter male could evade (and getting eaten dramatically reduces your chances of mating)... In a new study [Zollman and Huttegger], game theorists showed that partial honesty might be the best policy in animal communication. During computer simulations of evolving populations, researchers found that a fixed ratio of honesty to dishonesty sets in, where the “signalers” (peacocks) aren’t completely honest, and the “receivers” (peahens) aren’t completely trusting. “You can actually have a stable situation where you have partially honest communication,” said Kevin Zollman of Carnegie Mellon University, the lead author of the study.
For the full story, please visit http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=hunger-game-is-honesty-....