Individual recognition: it is good to be different.

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Michigan, 830 N. University, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1048, USA.
Trends in Ecology & Evolution (Impact Factor: 15.35). 11/2007; 22(10):529-37. DOI: 10.1016/j.tree.2007.09.001
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Individual recognition (IR) behavior has been widely studied, uncovering spectacular recognition abilities across a range of taxa and modalities. Most studies of IR focus on the recognizer (receiver). These studies typically explore whether a species is capable of IR, the cues that are used for recognition and the specializations that receivers use to facilitate recognition. However, relatively little research has explored the other half of the communication equation: the individual being recognized (signaler). Provided there is a benefit to being accurately identified, signalers are expected to actively broadcast their identity with distinctive cues. Considering the prevalence of IR, there are probably widespread benefits associated with distinctiveness. As a result, selection for traits that reveal individual identity might represent an important and underappreciated selective force contributing to the evolution and maintenance of genetic polymorphisms.

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    ABSTRACT: This study investigates the following questions: Is it harder to distinguish and remember people if they are of another race? And do memory limitations have discriminatory implications? To answer these questions, I conduct an experiment in a laboratory environment. Participants are presented with a set of potential candidates of differ-ent races -East Asian and Caucasian White -and each candidate is associated with a monetary value. Incentives are provided to recall candidates with higher values. I find that people are much better able to recall candidates with higher values if they are of the same race. Candidates of the other race are more likely to be confused with each other. This leads to positive and negative discrimination at the same time: those at bottom of the value distribution benefit while those at the top lose out. These results suggest that cognitive biases could play a role in the nature of cross-racial relations, in particular for phenom-ena relying on repeated interactions and individual recognition, such as the formation and maintenance of social ties or the establishment of trust relationships. audiences at various seminars for useful comments. The author is also extremely grateful for the programming support offered by Jacques Belot.
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    ABSTRACT: Individual recognition and winner/loser effects both play important roles in animal contests, but how their influences are integrated to affect an individual?s contest decisions in combination remains unclear. Individual recognition provides an animal with relatively precise information about its ability to defeat conspecifics that it has fought previously. Winner/loser effects, conversely, rely on sampling information about how an animal?s ability to win compares with those of others in the population. The less precise information causing winner/loser effects should therefore be more useful to an individual facing an unfamiliar opponent. In this study, we used Kryptolebias marmoratus, a hermaphroditic mangrove killifish, to test whether winner/loser effects do depend on opponent familiarity. In addition, as previous studies have shown that subordinates that behave aggressively sometimes suffer post-retreat retaliation from contest winners, we also explored this aspect of contest interaction in K. marmoratus. In the early stages of a contest, subordinates facing an unfamiliar dominant were more likely to signal their aggressiveness with either gill displays or attacks rather than retreating immediately. A winning experience then increased the likelihood that the most aggressive behavioral pattern the subordinates exhibited would be attacks rather than gill displays, irrespective of their opponents? familiarity. Dominants that received a losing experience and faced an unfamiliar opponent were less likely than others to launch attacks directly. And subordinates that challenged dominants with more aggressive tactics but still lost received more post-retreat attacks from their dominant opponents. Subordinates' contest decisions were influenced by both their contest experience and the familiarity of their opponents, but these influences appeared at different stages of a contest and did not interact significantly with each other. The influence of a losing experience on dominants‟ contest decisions, however, did depend on their subordinate opponents‟ familiarity. Subordinates and dominants thus appeared to integrate information from the familiarity of their opponents and the outcome of previous contests differently, which warrants further investigation. The higher costs that dominants imposed on subordinates that behaved more aggressively toward them may have been to deter them from either fighting back or challenging them in the future.
    Frontiers in Zoology 12/2014; 11:92. · 2.30 Impact Factor
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    Journal of Veterinary Behavior Clinical Applications and Research 07/2013; 8(4):e46. · 1.22 Impact Factor

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