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The Evolution of Bluffing in Animal Contests: An ESS Approach

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Gardner, Roy; Morris, Molly R.; Walton, Rod
Conference: International Conference on Game Theory
Location: Stony Brook, New York
Conf. Date: June 20, 1987
Date: 1987
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5208
Sector: Theory
Subject(s): game theory
Abstract: "This paper studies the contest behaviour of territorial animals, where a contest begins with an explicit signalling stage. A resident has a choice of two signals, denoting either strong or weak resource holding power. A signal constitutes a bluff when a weak resident signals strong; bluffing, however, entails a cost. An intruder must then assess the signal before choosing whether to attack or retreat. The equilibrium concept applied is that of evolutionary stable strategy (ESS). For the contests we model, there is a unique ESS. The ESS depends crucially on the asymmetry of information between residents and intruders, as well as on the value of a territory V and cost of losing a contest C. When the ration V/C is low and residents have better information than intruders, all weak residents bluff, but bluffing decreases as V/C rises."

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