Showing off, handicap signaling, and the evolution of men's work

  title={Showing off, handicap signaling, and the evolution of men's work},
  author={Kristen Hawkes and Rebecca Bliege Bird},
  journal={Evolutionary Anthropology: Issues},
Zahavi's 1 , 2 handicap principle makes “waste” a common outcome of signal selection because the cost of a signal guarantees its honesty. The capacity to bear the cost reveals the show‐off's hidden qualities. While displays take many forms, some also provide fitness‐related benefits to the audience in addition to information about the show‐off. Zahavi 3 has used the handicap principle to explain both merely wasteful displays and altruistic behavior. Here we focus on the distinction between… 

Costly signaling and the handicap principle in hunter‐gatherer research: A critical review

Here a review of honest signaling theory in both hunter‐gatherer studies and zoology highlights three issues with the costly signaling literature in hunter‐gather studies: an overemphasis on the demonstration of realized costs, a lack of clear predictions about what specific qualities hunting actually signals, and an insufficient focus on the broadcast effectiveness of hunting and its value as a heuristics for signal recipients.

Moving beyond Stereotypes of Men's Foraging Goals

We concur with the title of the Hawkes, O’Connell, and Coxworth discussion, “Family provisioning is not the only reason men hunt” (Hawkes et al. 2010). We said so explicitly in our paper, and we

Why Do Men Hunt?

It is shown that there is little empirical support for the view that men hunt for signaling benefits alone, and a framework incorporating trade‐offs between mating and subsistence strategies in an economic bargaining context is presented that contributes to understanding men’s and women's roles in hunter‐gatherer societies.

Condition-dependent trade-offs maintain honest signalling

How and why animals and humans signal reliably is a key issue in biology and social sciences that needs to be understood to explain the evolution of communication. In situations in which the receiver

Competition for Trophies Triggers Male Generosity

It is shown that cooperation is sustained in a generosity competition with trophy rewards, but breaks down in the same environment with equally valuable but non-unique and non-displayable rewards, and that male competitiveness is not modulated by trophy rewards.

More Lessons from the Hadza about Men’s Work

Two studies are compared, similarities are identified, and it is shown that emphasis on big game results in collective benefits that would not be supplied if men foraged mainly to provision their own households, with implications for hypotheses about the deeper past.

The Perverse Costly Signaling Effect on Cooperation under the Shadow of the Future

A literature in the social sciences proposes that humans can promote cooperation with strangers by signaling their generosity through investment in unrelated pro-social activities. This paper studied

Showing Off in Humans: Male Generosity as a Mating Signal

We examined people's charity contributions while in the presence of an observer of the same sex, opposite sex, or no observer. Inspired by costly signaling theory, we hypothesized that men would be

Hwæt!: adaptive benefits of public displays of generosity and bravery in Beowulf

The interactions in the Old-English poem Beowulf are analysed to show that hypotheses derived from evolutionary theory can be explored through quantitative text analyses of period-specific literature and costly signalling provides benefits beyond those from relationships based on exchange.

Generosity, Reputation, and Costly Signaling: A Preliminary Study of Altruism toward Unfamiliar People

Generosity seems to be a cross-culturally ubiquitous feature of life. Helping others is considered as a costly act through which the altruists gain popularity and reputation in their refer- ence



Biological signals as handicaps.

  • A. Grafen
  • Psychology
    Journal of theoretical biology
  • 1990

The Handicap Principle: A Missing Piece of Darwin's Puzzle

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.

Costly Signaling and Prosocial Behavior

The last few decades have witnessed an increasing convergence and interaction between economic and evolutionary approaches to human behavior, a trend certainly exemplified in this volume, and the ways in which CST might illuminate strong reciprocity and other forms of prosocial behavior are explored.

Hadza meat sharing.

Handicap signalling: when fecundity and viability do not add up

  • T. Getty
  • Environmental Science
    Animal Behaviour
  • 1998
Critical tests of the handicap hypothesis should establish that signallers of different quality are on a rising fitness ridge because of different cost-benefit trade-offs, and whether receivers are maximizing their fitness requires additional experiments.

Turtle hunting and tombstone opening. public generosity as costly signaling.

  • SmithBird
  • Economics
    Evolution and human behavior : official journal of the Human Behavior and Evolution Society
  • 2000

Why Hunter-Gatherers Work: An Ancient Version of the Problem of Public Goods [and Comments and Reply]

People who hunt and gather for a living share some resources more widely than others. A favored hypothesis to explain the differential sharing is that giving up portions of large, unpredictable

Altruism as a Handicap: The Limitations of Kin Selection and Reciprocity

Trivers (1971) suggested an additional model "reciprocal altruism" (RA) to interpret altruistic adaptations among non-relatives, but data from several field studies have indicated that in many cases the act of the non-related altruist was not reciprocated.

The extravagance of animal signals

In this article, recent ideas for the evolution of exaggeration are discussed and juxtaposed, and the relationship between ‘content’ and ‘efficacy’ in signal design is briefly discussed.