Information gathering and decision making about resource value in animal contests

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209 Citations (Scopus)


Contestants are predicted to adjust the cost of a fight in line with the perceived value of the resource and this provides a way of determining whether the resource has been assessed. An assessment of resource value is predicted to alter an animal's motivational state and we note different methods of measuring that state. We provide a categorical framework in which the degree of resource assessment may be evaluated and also note limitations of various approaches. We place studies in six categories: (1) cases of no assessment, (2) cases of internal state such as hunger influencing apparent value, (3) cases of the contestants differing in assessment ability, (4) cases of mutual and equal assessment of value, (5) cases where opponents differ in resource value and (6) cases of particularly complex assessment abilities that involve a comparison of the value of two resources. We examine the extent to which these studies support game theory predictions and suggest future areas of research. (C) 2008 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-542
Number of pages14
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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