Google Tech TalksJanuary 11, 2007ABSTRACTMuch of what we want to know about other people is not directly perceivable. Are you a nice person? Did you really like the cake I baked? If we got married, would you be a good parent to our children? Instead, we rely on signals, which are perceivable features or actions that indicate the presence of those hidden qualities. Yet not all signals are reliable. It is beneficial for the con-man to seem nice, for the guest to seem to like the burnt cake, for the unsuitable suitor to seem as attractive as possible. While these deceptions benefit the deceiver, they may be quite costly for the recipient. What keeps signals honest — and why are some signals...
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