Dishonest Signaling During Aggressive Interactions: Theory and Empirical Evidence

Robbie S. Wilson, Michael Angilletta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

16 Scopus citations


Communication between members of the same species often involves a conflict of interest, and the role that deception plays in this conflict has fascinated researchers for decades. The primary concern has been to understand what maintains honest communication despite the temptation to deceive opponents. In this chapter, we pursue the subject of dishonesty and discuss its importance during communication between animals competing for limited resources. We briefly review the relevant theory and analyze empirical studies that support the existence of deception in animal populations. In considering the mounting evidence for dishonest communication, we consider whether deception provides the only explanation. We also explain how functional studies of animal performance can inform evolutionary analyses of dishonest signalling between competitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAnimal Signaling and Function
Subtitle of host publicationAn Integrative Approach
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9781118966624
ISBN (Print)9780470546000
StatePublished - Jan 20 2015


  • Aggression
  • Deception
  • Dishonesty
  • Game theory
  • Signaling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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