handicap principle


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handicap principle

A hypothesis that the extravagance of an animal’s mating displays proves individual strength, because animals with handicaps do not have the strength for mating dominance.

Example
Huge antlers for deer stags.

The cost or handicap is a virtual guarantee of the honesty of the display; if there were no cost to the display—e.g., proof of the stag’s superiority by fighting other males—there would be rampant cheating, and observers (other stags) would learn to ignore the “false” displays. Because antlers are costly, it would not be worthwhile for a weaker stag to produce large antlers and try to “bluff” his way into mating superiority.
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References in periodicals archive ?
In this scenario (condition-mediated sexual selection), ornamental traits could honestly indicate male viability, a hypothesis that became known as the handicap principle (Zahavi 1975).
One can find many examples of the handicap principle in both non-participatory and participatory poems.
The Zahavis' handicap principle also has to do with fitness displays, and they make a number of references to athletes in their important book.
The martial arts provide an interesting example of the handicap principle.
As such, the handicap principle is likely to be operating in human mate selection.
Unfortunately, this aspect of the handicap principle is likely to lead to heavy use and abuse.
The handicap principle applies specifically to males of a species, as such; any handicapping behavior (such as risky substance use and abuse) should be greater in men than women.
case of Zahavi's handicap principle operating in plants (Archetti,
Organisms that operate under the handicap principle send honest
The team's simulations, based on biological models of dishonesty and the handicap principle, show that deception is the best strategy when the addition of deceitful agents pushes the size of the group to the minimum level required to frustrate the predator enough for it to flee.
Zahavi proposes that his handicap principle explains all signals in nature.
Zahavi's (1975) handicap principle postulated that signals are honest because of the inherent cost of these behaviors.