Preventing Bluff Agent Invasions in Honest Societies

  • Robert Lowe
  • Daniel Polani
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2801)


Frequently debated issues in the domain of game theory involve the issue of signalling strategies used in order to resolve conflicts between agents over indivisible resources and to reduce the costly outcomes associated with fighting. Signalling behaviour, used by agents of different strengths, to aid resource acquisition was modelled using an artificial life simulation environment. Honest signalling and the bluff strategy based on Enquist/Hurd’s adapted pay-off matrix (1997) were evaluated relative to different proportions of resident strong agents capable of imposing a ‘punishment’ cost on bluffer agents. We found that in order for honest signalling to be immune to invasion by a bluff strategy, the number of punishment enforcers in the society must be high. Additionally, the number of punishment enforcers is more influential in preventing bluff agent invasions than the severity of punishment.


Signalling Strategy Punishment Cost Evolutionary Stable Strategy Honest Signalling Dishonest Behaviour 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Adams, E.S., Mesterton-Gibbons, M.: The cost of threat displays and the stability of deceptive communication. Journal of theoretical biology 175, 405–421 (1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Lachmann, M., Szamado, S., Bergstrom, C.T.: Cost and conflict in animal signals and human language. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 98(23), 13189–13194 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    British Crime Survey, Criminal Statistics England and Wales, Payback-Crime and Punishment 05/03/03 (2000),
  4. 4.
    Canning, K., Maynard, S.: The Selfish Gene, vol. 130, pp. 75–76 (1978); cited in Dawkins, R. (1999)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Caryl, P.G.: Acquisition of information in contests: The gulf between theory and biology. In: ESS Workshop on Animal Conflicts, Sheffield, UK (1987)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Enquist, M.: Communication during aggressive interaction with particular reference to variation in choice of behaviour. Animal Behaviour 33, 1152–1161 (1985)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Enquist, M., Hurd, P.L.: Conventional Signalling in Aggressive Interactions: the Importance of Temporal Structure. Journal of Theoretical Biology 192, 197–211 (1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Gale, J.S., Revd Eaves, L.J.: The Selfish Gene, vol. 283 (1975); cited in Dawkins, R. (1999)Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Grafen, A.: Biological Signals as handicaps. Journal of Theoretical Biology 144, 517–546 (1990)CrossRefMathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Hurd, P.L.: Is Signalling of Fighting Ability Costlier forWeaker Individuals? Journal of Theoretical Biology 184, 83–88 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Johnstone, R.A.: Game Theory and communication. In: Game Theory and Animal Behaviour, pp. 94–117. Oxford University Press, NewYork (1998)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Lachmann, M., Bergstrom, C.T., Szamado, S.: The death of costly signalling? 27/02/03 (2000),
  13. 13.
    Maynard Smith and Price, (1982) The Selfish Gene, 69–79 (1973); cited in Dawkins, R. (1999)Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Noble, J.: Talk is cheap: Evolved strategies for communication and action in asymmetrical animal contests. In: Meyer, J.-A., Berthoz, A., Floreano, D., Roitblat, H., Wilson, S. (eds.) SAB 2000, Honolulu, Hawaii, pp. 481–490. MIT Press, Cambridge (2000)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Zahavi, A.: Mate selection – a selection for a handicap. Journal of Theoretical Biology 53, 205–214 (1975)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Youth Survey, Summary of the MORI 2002 Youth Survey 05/03/03 (2002),

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert Lowe
    • 1
  • Daniel Polani
    • 1
  1. 1.Adaptive Systems Research Group, Faculty of Engineering and Information SciencesUniversity of HertfordshireHatfield HertsUnited Kingdom

Personalised recommendations