Genuine versus Deceptive Emotional Displays

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Grose, Jonathan
conference paper description
This paper contributes to the explanation of human cooperative behaviour, examining the implications of Brian Skyrms’ modelling of the prisoner’s dilemma (PD). Augmenting a PD with signalling strategies promotes cooperation, but a challenge that must be addressed is what prevents signals being subverted by deceptive behaviour. Empirical results suggest that emotional displays can play a signalling role and, to some extent, are secure from subversion. I examine proximate explanations and then offer an evolutionary explanation for the translucency of emotional displays. Selection acts on the basis of lifetime fitness consequences and, crucially for my argument, the intensity of selection decreases over the course of a lifetime. Hence we tend to possess traits that promote survival when young and, with regard to emotional displays, translucency allows successful maturation over our protracted period of nurturing by close kin. This is due to the vital role played by emotional interactions in the normal cognitive and social development of Homo sapiens.