Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford


Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1673-1



Any individual who produces a signal during the communication process.

There are many definitions of a signaller in the communication literature, which vary from manipulator to cooperative informer to continuous manager. Krebs and Dawkins (1984) provided a more manipulative view of the communicative process. They felt that signallers were “manipulators.” For example, in order for a communicative signal to persist in the environment, it must coevolve with a signaller and a receiver; therefore the manipulator’s role is that of the sender or signaller altering the listener’s behavior in a way to directly benefit the sender (Krebs and Dawkins 1984). In a similar way to the definition of receivers, the definition of a signaller (as a manipulator) relies heavily on the fact that signals are reliable and provide honest cues that receivers can act upon. Thus, the handicap principle plays a key role in the idea of manipulation. Zahavi (1975)...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMacEwan UniversityEdmontonCanada

Section editors and affiliations

  • Shannon M. Digweed
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMacEwan UniversityEdmontonCanada