The Animal Behavior Podcast

S2E2 Tamra Mendelson on Signal Evolution and Processing Bias

May 16, 2022 The Animal Behavior Podcast Season 2 Episode 2
The Animal Behavior Podcast
S2E2 Tamra Mendelson on Signal Evolution and Processing Bias
Show Notes

In this episode, Matthew speaks with Tamra Mendelson (@tamram), Professor of Biological Sciences at UMBC.

They talk about Tamra's work studying sexual signal evolution. They discuss the processing bias hypothesis, with a focus on the importance of the ease of processing a signal on the receivers preference for signals. They talk about evidence that efficient processing has shaped human preferences for art and faces, and consider the implications of the same phenomenon in animal signal evolution.

After the break, they talk about ICARE, an NSF-funded Masters program at UMBC that she leads that promotes social and environmental justice by training  a diverse workforce of environmental scientists to solve environmental problems.

This week's Two-Minute Takeaway comes from Zeke Rowe (@Zeke_Rowe_), a PhD student at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam . Read Zeke's paper about camouflage and complexity in moths here.

Media relevant to today's show:

 Tamra's synthesis paper laying out the processing bias hypothesis:

Renoult, J. P., & Mendelson, T. C. (2019). Processing bias: extending sensory drive to include efficacy and efficiency in information processing. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 286(1900), 20190165.

2.  Evidence that processing bias has shaped darter signal evolution

Hulse, S. V., Renoult, J. P., & Mendelson, T. C. (2020). Sexual signaling pattern correlates with habitat pattern in visually ornamented fishes. Nature communications, 11(1), 1-8.

3.  Evidence that sparseness shapes human preferences for faces

Holzleitner, I. J., Lee, A. J., Hahn, A. C., Kandrik, M., Bovet, J., Renoult, J. P., ... & Jones, B. C. (2019). Comparing theory-driven and data-driven attractiveness models using images of real women’s faces. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 45(12), 1589.

The Animal Behavior Podcast is created by a team of animal behavior researchers and audio professionals. Come meet us here! We receive production support from the Cornell Broadcast studio, directed by Bert Odom-Reed and financial support from the Animal Behavior Society.