Symposium - "The interplay of cooperation and communication"

Keynote speakers: Clementine Vignal (France) & Leif Engqvist (Switzerland)

Cooperative behaviours providing a benefit to another individual at a cost to the actor are omnipresent in nature. However, proximate mechanisms underlying cooperative interactions remain understudied. This symposium will explore the role of communication between social partners while cooperating with one another. Communication can enable coordination of cooperative behaviours. Additionally, communication can be part of the cooperative act by itself, as it may provide social partners with beneficial information. Vice versa, cooperation is hypothesized to be an important factor in the evolution of complex communication. Hence, cooperation and communication are assumed to have mutually enhancing effects on each other. However, in most interactions there is a conflict of interest between social partners, meaning that one may be exploited by the other. Signallers communicating their cooperative tendency or their need to receive help might cheat and therefore free-ride on cooperative partners.

But social partners may also share interests, which can prevent defection and may lead to reliable communication. Although the interplay of communication and cooperation is a fundamental component of the life of most animals, it is still poorly understood.

This symposium will combine experts from empirical and theoretical fields to address the relationship between communication and cooperation, with empirical examples ranging from bacteria to primates.


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The European Conference of Behavioural Biology | Universit├Ątsring 1  | 1010 Wien