Evolution of honest signaling by social punishment

David Catteeuw, The Anh Han, Bernard Manderick

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    5 Citations (Scopus)


    When facing dishonest behavior of any form, individuals may choose to punish in order to enhance future honesty from others, even if it is costly for the punishers. Such behavior can be found ubiquitously in human and animal communications, suggesting that it may play an important role in the evolution of honest signaling or reliable communication. By applying Evolutionary Game Theory to the Philip Sidney game, we provide a computational model to investigate whether costly punishment can be a viable strategy for the evolution of honest signaling. We identify four different forms of dishonesty, and study how punishing them affects the level of honesty in the final outcome of evolutionary dynamics. Our results show that punishing those that lie can significantly boost honest signaling when conflicts are moderate and signals are cheap or cost-free. It hence provides an important alternative to the well-known Handicap Principle, which states that honest signaling can evolve only if signals are sufficiently costly for their senders. Furthermore, punishing greedy responses promotes honest signaling if conflicts of interest are high and signals are costly. Lastly, punishing timid or worried individuals does not lead to a clear improvement of honesty.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGECCO 2014 - Proceedings of the 2014 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference
    PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
    Number of pages8
    ISBN (Print)9781450326629
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
    Event16th Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference - Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Duration: 12 Jul 201416 Jul 2014


    Conference16th Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference
    Abbreviated titleGECCO 2014
    CityVancouver, BC


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