Threshold assessment, categorical perception, and the evolution of reliable signaling
Animals often use assessment signals to communicate information about their quality to a variety of receivers, including potential mates, competitors, and predators. But what maintains reliable signaling and prevents signalers from signaling a better quality than they actually have? Previous work has shown that reliable signaling can be maintained if signalers pay fitness costs for signaling at different intensities and these costs are greater for lower quality individuals than higher quality ones. Models supporting this idea typically assume that continuous variation in signal intensity is perceived as such by receivers. In many organisms, however, receivers have threshold responses to signals, in which they respond to a signal if it is above a threshold value and do not respond if the signal is below the threshold value. Here, we use both analytical and individual-based models to investigate how such threshold responses affect the reliability of assessment signals. We show that reliable signaling systems can break down when receivers have an invariant threshold response, but reliable signaling can be rescued if there is variation among receivers in the location of their threshold boundary. Our models provide an important step towards understanding signal evolution when receivers have threshold responses to continuous signal variation. ### Competing Interest Statement The authors have declared no competing interest.
- Downloaded 164 times
- Download rankings, all-time:
- Site-wide: 86,874 out of 103,871
- In animal behavior and cognition: 1,315 out of 1,599
- Year to date:
- Site-wide: 41,256 out of 103,871
- Since beginning of last month:
- Site-wide: 11,224 out of 103,871
Downloads over time
Distribution of downloads per paper, site-wide
- 18 Dec 2019: We're pleased to announce PanLingua, a new tool that enables you to search for machine-translated bioRxiv preprints using more than 100 different languages.
- 21 May 2019: PLOS Biology has published a community page about Rxivist.org and its design.
- 10 May 2019: The paper analyzing the Rxivist dataset has been published at eLife.
- 1 Mar 2019: We now have summary statistics about bioRxiv downloads and submissions.
- 8 Feb 2019: Data from Altmetric is now available on the Rxivist details page for every preprint. Look for the "donut" under the download metrics.
- 30 Jan 2019: preLights has featured the Rxivist preprint and written about our findings.
- 22 Jan 2019: Nature just published an article about Rxivist and our data.
- 13 Jan 2019: The Rxivist preprint is live!