The relative cost advantage or disadvantage of producing a signal or an output in relation to the level of resources available to its transmitter.
This appearently abstract definition widely applies among animals and humans. "In 1982, evolutionary biologists W. HAMILTON and M. ZUK proposed a new handicap hypothesis that forged a link between the quality of individuals and their sexual signals ". In essence, only males with genes for, say, parasitic resistance would be in prime condition and thus able to express the best sexual signals" (M. WALKER, 2000, p.23). WALKER observes that, in more subtle ways, this is even true for human males.
Based on this observation, A. ZAHAVI proposed what he calls the "handicap principle ", which is in essence a quite general evolutive selection mechanism (Ibid).
In human societies at different levels, the validity of the handicap principle is also probable. Powerful organizations, with an abundance of available resources, are able to resist strong perturbations, and to promote themselves in a more efficient manner.
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To cite this page, please use the following information:
Bertalanffy Center for the Study of Systems Science (2020). Title of the entry. In Charles François (Ed.), International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics (2). Retrieved from www.systemspedia.org/[full/url]
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