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Deception and Formal Models of Communication

  • Author(s): McWhirter, Gregory
  • Advisor(s): Skyrms, Brian
  • et al.
Abstract

Having a satisfactory definition of behavioral deception is important for understanding several types of evolutionary questions. No definition offered in the literature so far is adequate on all fronts. After identifying characteristics that are important for a definition, a new definition of behavioral deception is offered. The new definition, like some other proposed attempts, relies on formal game-theoretic models of signalling.

Unlike others, it incorporates explicit consideration of the population in which the potentially deceptive interactions occur. The general structure of the definition satisfies many of the characteristics that were problematic for other definitions, and others are satisfied by explicitly incorporating information about the population in which interactions occur.

The proposed definition is applied to chick begging in the Sir Philip Sidney game and stomatopod bluffing behavior. The definition is shown to allow universal deception in equilibrium, contrary to claims by Kant that such a thing should be impossible. An extension is also considered to investigate the potential evolutionary advantages of self-deception.

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