Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Amotz Zahavi

  • Manpal Singh BhogalEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_3486-1



Exploring costly traits as signals.


Amotz Zahavi was a pioneer in evolutionary theory, who proposed the famous handicap principle. In 2016, Zahavi was awarded a lifetime achievement award by Tel Aviv University for his work and contribution to the department of Zoology. Prior to this, he was awarded the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel prize by the Israeli Ministry of Education for his contribution to the environment. He was also awarded the Fryssen Foundation’s International Prize for his work on social communication (Amotz Zahavi n.d.).

Prior to work conducted by Amotz Zahavi, costly behaviors (those which appear to be fitness reducing and costly to perform) appeared to be counterintuitive to Darwinian selection. Zahavi, by proposing the handicap principle, sought to further explain the adaptive benefits of costly behaviors and why they are central to both natural and sexual selection. Zahavi revolutionized the way...

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Institute of Human Sciences, Faculty of Education, Health and WellbeingUniversity of WolverhamptonWolverhamptonUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kevin Kniffin
    • 1
  1. 1.Cornell UniversityIthacaUSA