151,114 research outputs found

    A hypothetico-deductive approach to assessing the social function of chemical signalling in a non-territorial solitary carnivore

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    The function of chemical signalling in non-territorial solitary carnivores is still relatively unclear. Studies on territorial solitary and social carnivores have highlighted odour capability and utility, however the social function of chemical signalling in wild carnivore populations operating dominance hierarchy social systems has received little attention. We monitored scent marking and investigatory behaviour of wild brown bears Ursus arctos, to test multiple hypotheses relating to the social function of chemical signalling. Camera traps were stationed facing bear ‘marking trees’ to document behaviour by different age sex classes in different seasons. We found evidence to support the hypothesis that adult males utilise chemical signalling to communicate dominance to other males throughout the non-denning period. Adult females did not appear to utilise marking trees to advertise oestrous state during the breeding season. The function of marking by subadult bears is somewhat unclear, but may be related to the behaviour of adult males. Subadults investigated trees more often than they scent marked during the breeding season, which could be a result of an increased risk from adult males. Females with young showed an increase in marking and investigation of trees outside of the breeding season. We propose the hypothesis that females engage their dependent young with marking trees from a young age, at a relatively ‘safe’ time of year. Memory, experience, and learning at a young age, may all contribute towards odour capabilities in adult bears

    Corporate and Consumer Social Responsibilities: Label Regulations in the Lab

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    Although consumer attitudes toward corporate social responsibility are positive, socially responsible (SR) products are far from gaining significant market shares. Information asymmetries have been identified as one of the factor contributing to this attitude-behaviour gap, because social responsibility is a credence attribute. Signalling may remedy this market failure. We use an experimental posted offer market to investigate the impact of various regulatory requirements for labels on sellers’ choice to supply SR products and to signal it, and on buyers’ choice of ethical quality. Three treatments are tested: label certification by a third-party, “cheap-talk signalling” with random monitoring and with or without reputations. Individual social preferences are elicited prior to the game, and their distribution generates a positive supply of and demand for social responsibility. When there is third-party certification or cheap-talk signalling with random monitoring and reputations, a separating equilibrium emerges, whereby labelled and non-labelled goods are exchanged at different prices. However, efficiency gains are significant only for third-party certification. Cheap-talk signalling with random monitoring but without reputations does not yield efficiency gains. Moreover, it generates a “halo” effect, whereby buyers are misguided by sellers’ claims about product quality. Finally, individual social preferences have a significant effect on players’ decisions. Only third-party certification can increase companies’ social responsibility and can allow consumers to express their social preferences through consumption.labels, social responsibility, social preferences, separating equilibrium, market game, Consumer/Household Economics, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Marketing, C92, D82, L15, M14,

    Social and cultural origins of motivations to volunteer a comparison of university students in six countries

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    Although participation in volunteering and motivations to volunteer (MTV) have received substantial attention on the national level, particularly in the US, few studies have compared and explained these issues across cultural and political contexts. This study compares how two theoretical perspectives, social origins theory and signalling theory, explain variations in MTV across different countries. The study analyses responses from a sample of 5794 students from six countries representing distinct institutional contexts. The findings provide strong support for signalling theory but less so for social origins theory. The article concludes that volunteering is a personal decision and thus is influenced more at the individual level but is also impacted to some degree by macro-level societal forces

    Signalling, Social Status and Labor Income Taxes

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    We investigate the effects of introducing a linear labor income tax under the assumptions that individuals have concerns for social status, that they can signal their relative standing by spending on a conspicuous good, and that the tax revenue is redistributed by means of lump sum transfers. We show that the way social status is defined – i.e. how relative standing is computed and evaluated – crucially affects the desirability of the tax policy. More precisely, if status is ordinal then a labor income tax can decrease waste in conspicuous consumption only if the distribution of pre-tax incomes (or earning potentials) is not too unequal. The same applies for the tax to induce a Pareto improvement, but with the bound on pre-tax inequality being smaller. Instead, if status is cardinal then neither requirement applies: for any degree of pre-tax inequality we can find a cardinal notion of status such that the introduction of a labor income tax induces both a waste reduction and a strict Pareto improvement. However, under cardinal status a labor income tax is not necessarily more desirable than under ordinal status. Indeed, if status is cardinal in the sense that the status differential between being considered rich and being considered poor is strongly dependent on the income of the rich, then a labor income tax is more likely to increase social waste than under ordinal status.social status; relative standing; consumption externalities; labor income; income tax; signalling; conspicuous consumption; income inequality

    "Download for Free" - When Do Providers of Digital Goods Offer Free Samples?

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    In a monopoly setting where consumers cannot observe the quality of the product we show that free samples which are of a lower quality than the marketed digital goods are used together with high prices as signals for a superior quality if the number of informed consumers is small and if the difference between the high and the low quality is not too small. Social welfare is higher, if the monopolist uses also free samples as signals, compared to a situation where he is restricted to pure price signalling. Both, the monopolist and consumers benefit from the additional signal.Digital Goods; Free Samples; Multi-dimensional Signalling

    Acoustic signalling reflects personality in a social mammal

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    Social interactions among individuals are often mediated through acoustic signals. If acoustic signals are consistent and related to an individual's personality, these consistent individual differences in signalling may be an important driver in social interactions. However, few studies in non-human mammals have investigated the relationship between acoustic signalling and personality. Here we show that acoustic signalling rate is repeatable and strongly related to personality in a highly social mammal, the domestic pig (Sus scrofa domestica). Furthermore, acoustic signalling varied between environments of differing quality, with males from a poor-quality environment having a reduced vocalization rate compared with females and males from an enriched environment. Such differences may be mediated by personality with pigs from a poor-quality environment having more reactive and more extreme personality scores compared with pigs from an enriched environment. Our results add to the evidence that acoustic signalling reflects personality in a non-human mammal. Signals reflecting personalities may have far reaching consequences in shaping the evolution of social behaviours as acoustic communication forms an integral part of animal societies

    Oxytocin is an age-specific circulating hormone that is necessary for muscle maintenance and regeneration.

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    The regenerative capacity of skeletal muscle declines with age. Previous studies suggest that this process can be reversed by exposure to young circulation; however, systemic age-specific factors responsible for this phenomenon are largely unknown. Here we report that oxytocin--a hormone best known for its role in lactation, parturition and social behaviours--is required for proper muscle tissue regeneration and homeostasis, and that plasma levels of oxytocin decline with age. Inhibition of oxytocin signalling in young animals reduces muscle regeneration, whereas systemic administration of oxytocin rapidly improves muscle regeneration by enhancing aged muscle stem cell activation/proliferation through activation of the MAPK/ERK signalling pathway. We further show that the genetic lack of oxytocin does not cause a developmental defect in muscle but instead leads to premature sarcopenia. Considering that oxytocin is an FDA-approved drug, this work reveals a potential novel and safe way to combat or prevent skeletal muscle ageing

    The social brain: allowing humans to boldly go where no other species has been

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    The biological basis of complex human social interaction and communication has been illuminated through a coming together of various methods and disciplines. Among these are comparative studies of other species, studies of disorders of social cognition and developmental psychology. The use of neuroimaging and computational models has given weight to speculations about the evolution of social behaviour and culture in human societies. We highlight some networks of the social brain relevant to two-person interactions and consider the social signals between interacting partners that activate these networks.Wemake a case for distinguishing between signals that automatically trigger interaction and cooperation and ostensive signals that are used deliberately.We suggest that this ostensive signalling is needed for ‘closing the loop’ in two-person interactions, where the partners each know that they have the intention to communicate. The use of deliberate social signals can serve to increase reputation and trust and facilitates teaching. This is likely to be a critical factor in the steep cultural ascent ofmankind
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