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The Evolution of Ambiguity in Sender—Receiver Signaling Games

Roland Mühlenbernd (), Sławomir Wacewicz () and Przemysław Żywiczyński ()
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Roland Mühlenbernd: Leibniz-Centre General Linguistics (ZAS), 10117 Berlin, Germany
Sławomir Wacewicz: Centre for Language Evolution Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University, 87-100 Toruń, Poland
Przemysław Żywiczyński: Centre for Language Evolution Studies, Nicolaus Copernicus University, 87-100 Toruń, Poland

Games, 2022, vol. 13, issue 2, 1-19

Abstract: We study an extended version of a sender–receiver signaling game—a context-signaling (CS) game that involves external contextual cues that provide information about a sender’s private information state. A formal evolutionary analysis of the investigated CS game shows that ambiguous signaling strategies can achieve perfect information transfer and are evolutionarily stable. Moreover, a computational analysis of the CS game shows that such perfect ambiguous systems have the same emergence probability as non-ambiguous perfect signaling systems in multi-agent simulations under standard evolutionary dynamics. We contrast these results with an experimental study where pairs of participants play the CS game for multiple rounds with each other in the lab to develop a communication system. This comparison shows that unlike virtual agents, human agents clearly prefer perfect signaling systems over perfect ambiguous systems.

Keywords: sender–receiver signaling games; contextual cues; ambiguity; evolutionary stability; imitation dynamics; online experiments (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C C7 C70 C71 C72 C73 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2022
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