Document Detail

Warning signals, receiver psychology and predator memory.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11007635     Owner:  NLM     Status:  Publisher    
This review identifies four receiver psychology perspectives that are likely to be important in the design and evolution of warning signals. Three of these perspectives (phobia, learning and prey recognition) have been studied in detail, and I include a brief review of recent work. The fourth, a memory perspective, has received little attention and is developed here. A memory perspective asks, 'how might warning signals function to reduce forgetting of avoidances between encounters?'. To answer this question I review data from psychology literature that describe important features of animal long-term memory. These data suggest that components of warning signals may function to reduce forgetting (and therefore increase memorability) by (1) preventing forgetting of learnt prey discriminations; (2) jogging the memories of forgetful predators; and (3) biasing forgetting in favour of prey avoidance when the warning signal of a defended aposematic species is copied by an edible Batesian mimic. A combination of a learning and a memory perspective suggests that the features of aposematic prey that accelerate avoidance learning may also be the features that decelerate forgetting processes. If correct, this would have important implications for the comprehension of signal design. Finally, I suggest that the cryptic appearance of an edible prey may decelerate predator learning and accelerate predator forgetting, to the benefit of the prey. In terms of learning and memory, crypsis may be an antisignal. Copyright 2000 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
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Publication Detail:
Journal Detail:
Title:  Animal behaviour     Volume:  60     ISSN:  0003-3472     ISO Abbreviation:  Anim Behav     Publication Date:  2000 Sep 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2000-09-28     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0376746     Medline TA:  Anim Behav     Country:  -    
Other Details:
Languages:  ENG     Pagination:  269-278     Citation Subset:  -    
Environmental and Biological Studies, Liverpool Hope University College
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