Providing or hiding information: On the evolution of amplifiers and attenuators of perceived quality differences

Acta Biotheoretica 40 (4) (1992)
Abstract
In many coevolutionary systems members of one party select members of a second party based on quality differences existing among members of the latter (e.g., predators and prey, pollinators and flowers, etc.). We examined the fate of characters that increase (amplifiers) or decrease (attenuators) the perceived amplitude of differences in the quality upon which choice of the selecting party is based. We found that the evolution of such characters depends on (i) the relationship between the cost of the character and the relative benefit it gives to the high quality individuals (if an amplifier) or low quality individuals (if an attenuator), and (ii) the frequency, among members of the selected party, of the quality sought by the selecting party.
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