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Article

Animal Communication  

Michael D. Beecher

Among Darwin’s brilliant ideas was his (1871) conception of animal communication signals as adaptive characteristics of a species. The idea was subsequently taken up by the ethologists of Europe in the 1930s (Lorenz, Tinbergen, and von Frisch in particular) in their studies of animal signaling systems in nature. For many subsequent researchers, human language was the implicit model for an animal communication system. Although not expecting the same level of complexity, these researchers assumed that animal signals transmitted information from sender to receiver that was honest, and that benefitted them both. However, the honest signaling/mutual benefit view was challenged by new researchers steeped in the sociobiology and behavioral ecology movement of the 1960s. The emphasis on competition in this new field inspired these researchers to reconceive the animal signaling process as one in which the sender manipulates the receiver to the sender’s advantage. This view was challenged in turn when researchers recognized that the receiver was not a passive party in the interaction, but fully capable of manipulating the sender to its advantage. The communication interaction can be viewed as an arm’s race. The handicap principle—the idea that honesty in signaling can be maintained if signals are costly—is one way the receiver may gain an edge in this competition. Eventually, game theory considerations led to the development of a revised perspective in which signals evolve only when both the sender and the receiver benefit on average, and where signals are honest on average. Researchers examining a particular signaling system’s signals these days ask not are the signals honest, but how reliable are the signals.

Article

Bootstrapping: Complementary Lines of Inquiry in Entrepreneurship  

Matthew Rutherford and Duygu Phillips

Bootstrapping is a term, a construct, and a paradigm that has attracted substantial attention from both popular press writers and scholarly researchers. In the scholarly community bootstrapping research is concerned, broadly, with studying the phenomenon of startups in resource poor environments. While this would describe virtually all startups, bootstrapping is most focused upon those resource-starved startups that elected to use only the resources existing internally to the firm or founder(s). That is, in bootstrapped firms, no financing has been attained from individuals or entities outside the firm. In practice, bootstrapping is understood as (a) launching a business with no external debt or equity, and (b) finding creative ways to manage a business launched with no external debt or equity. Most entrepreneurs bootstrap at founding. It is estimated that few (20%) take on external debt at startup; and far fewer (5%) launch with external equity. Examples of techniques employed because of the decision to bootstrap include using credit cards, drawing upon home equity and sweat equity, taking loans from family, and investing salary from one’s “day job.” There are fundamental reasons for this, both from a demand side and a supply side. From the demand side entrepreneurs, on average, are autonomous and therefore have a preference for control and a general aversion to external forms of capital, both debt and equity. On the supply side, because of extreme asymmetric information that exists between financiers and entrepreneurs, financiers often cannot accurately gauge the underlying quality of the entrepreneur/venture and are therefore reluctant to provide capital to them. With regard to outcomes of bootstrapping, though, the research is equivocal. Ceteris paribus, it appears that there is no significant difference in performance between bootstrappers and non-bootstrappers; however, contingencies likely exist. For example, non-bootstrappers are likely more prone to failure because they often take more risks. Therefore, while a few heavily financed ventures may achieve lofty success, many fail in dramatic fashion. By contrast, bootstrappers are often more cautious and therefore these firms demonstrate less variance in outcomes. Understanding of both antecedents and outcomes of bootstrapping has grown since the introduction of the construct in the late 1980s. Because of this expanded understanding, the construct has evolved from phenomenological roots to one more grounded in theory. That said, there remain ambiguities around bootstrapping, not the least of which is the existence of myriad definitions and resultant operationalizations. Partially because of these varied conceptualizations, the scholarship on bootstrapping has been somewhat fragmented and challenging to decipher. This fragmented accumulation has led to not only a literature with vivid applications and examples, but also one with little universal logic. This fact has made it somewhat difficult for a field to advance. However, insights from existing theory (e.g., signaling, cultural entrepreneurship) as well as the relatively recent development of closely related bases (e.g., effectuation, bricolage) can complement and advance bootstrapping by adding theoretical breadth and depth. When understood alongside these related lines of research in entrepreneurship, researchers are better equipped to create, catalog, and accumulate knowledge regarding bootstrapping. In turn, educators will be more effective in communicating how entrepreneurs are able to launch in resource poor environments, and ultimately achieve success.

Article

Perceptual Learning: Perception and Experience  

Barbara Anne Dosher and Zhong-Lin Lu

Perceptual learning is the training-induced improvement in the accuracy or speed of relevant perceptual decisions about what is seen, heard, or felt. It occurs in all sensory modalities and in most tasks. The magnitude and generalizability of this learning may, however, depend on the stimulus modality, the level of sensory representation most aligned to the task, and the methods of training, including attention, feedback, reward, and the training protocol. What is known about perceptual learning in multiple modalities has been advanced based on behavioral studies and consideration of physiology and brain imaging, and the theoretical and computational models that systematize and promote understanding of the complex patterns of perceptual learning. Perceptual training might be used in translational applications, such as education, remediation of perceptual deficits, or maintenance of performance.

Article

The Ouroboros of Inflammatory Signaling to the Brain for the Control of Neuroendocrine Function  

Georgia E. Hodes

In the late 20th century, the discovery that the immune system and central nervous system were not autonomous revolutionized exploration of the mechanisms by which stress contributes to immune disorders and immune regulation contributes to mental illness. There is increasing evidence of stress as integrated across the brain and body. The immune system acts in concert with the peripheral nervous system to shape the brain’s perception of the environment. The brain in turn communicates with the endocrine and immune systems to guide their responses to that environment. Examining the groundwork of mechanisms governing communication between the body and brain will hopefully provide a better understanding of the ontogeny and symptomology of some mood disorders.

Article

Psychophysical Methods  

Frederick A.A. Kingdom

Psychophysics is the primary scientific tool for determining how the physical world translates into the biological world of sensations. As a noninvasive methodology that uses behavioral measurements of sensory function, it is often the first port of call for developing the stimuli, procedures and methods of analysis for subsequent use in neurophysiological, electrophysiological and brain imaging studies of sensory behavior. Psychophysics is not merely a methodology but also a research area in its own right, advancing alongside other developments such as in mathematical analysis and computer technology. Although this article concentrates on psychophysics as applied to vision, the concepts and procedures described are applicable to all sensory modalities.

Article

Heterogeneity in Cost-Effectiveness Analysis  

Ciaran N. Kohli-Lynch and Andrew H. Briggs

Cost-effectiveness analysis is conducted with the aim of maximizing population-level health outcomes given an exogenously determined budget constraint. Considerable health economic benefits can be achieved by reflecting heterogeneity in cost-effectiveness studies and implementing interventions based on this analysis. The following article describes forms of subgroup and heterogeneity in patient populations. It further discusses traditional decision rules employed in cost-effectiveness analysis and shows how these can be adapted to account for heterogeneity. This article discusses the theoretical basis for reflecting heterogeneity in cost-effectiveness analysis and methodology that can be employed to conduct such analysis. Reflecting heterogeneity in cost-effectiveness analysis allows decision-makers to define limited use criteria for treatments with a fixed price. This ensures that only those patients who are cost-effective to treat receive an intervention. Moreover, when price is not fixed, reflecting heterogeneity in cost-effectiveness analysis allows decision-makers to signal demand for healthcare interventions and ensure that payers achieve welfare gains when investing in health.

Article

Signaling in Foreign Policy  

Erik A. Gartzke, Shannon Carcelli, J Andres Gannon, and Jiakun Jack Zhang

Costly signaling offers a solution to many foreign policy dilemmas. Though most commonly studied in the context of the bargaining theory of war, signaling can also play an important role in nonzero-sum interactions such as those characterized by chicken (e.g., nuclear deterrence) and the prisoner’s dilemma (e.g., tariff reductions). A rich game theoretic literature explains how actors can signal credibly in these situations. The most prominent strategies are sinking costs (actions that are costly ex ante) or tying hands (actions that are costly ex post). These strategies are theoretically elegant but have generated considerable controversy when studied empirically. One controversy concerns the existence of hand-tying domestic audience costs under different regime types. A second controversy involves the degree to which sinking costs increase or decrease the risk of war. These controversies speak to the inherent tension between theories of strategic interactions and measuring their outcomes in the foreign policy process, where some events are off the equilibrium path and thus unobserved. The limited availability of foreign policy data was a major hindrance in earlier empirical efforts. Even as the quality of this data has improved, focus has been on the outcomes of conflict (crisis onset, escalation to war, victory, defeat) rather than the strategy. This is problematic given that all crises are sequential in nature and understanding the action–reaction cycle is vital to illuminating patterns of war, capitulation, and settlement. The frontier of research in the signaling literature is in bridging this gap. The advent of big data and machine learning has enabled more systematic empirical analysis of strategic moves by various foreign policy actors, including signaling. Some researchers, such as Lindsay & Gartzke, are harnessing these new data and methods to explore the means of signaling. Other scholars are beginning to ask questions about the efficacy of public versus private signaling, the role of ambiguity, and dyadic versus multi-actor signaling. This new wave of research seeks to nudge signaling closer to the concerns of foreign policy practitioners.

Article

Economic Interdependence and Conflict  

Hyo Joon Chang and Scott L. Kastner

Recent studies on commercial liberalism have paid more attention to microfoundations linking economic interdependence to peace. Using a bargaining model of war, these studies have specified and tested different causal mechanisms through which economic ties function as a constraint, a source of information, or a transformative agent. Recent scholarly efforts in theoretical development and some empirical testing of different causal processes suggest the need to consider scope conditions to see when an opportunity cost or a signaling mechanism is likely to be salient. Future research can be best benefited by focusing on how economic interdependence affects commitment problems and empirically assessing the relative explanatory power of different causal arguments.

Article

Gang Joining  

James A. Densley

This article examines the who, what, where, when, why, and how of gang joining. The question of what youth join when they join gangs speaks to the contested nature of gang definitions and types and the consequences of gang membership, specifically heightened levels of offending and victimization. The type of gang and the obligations of membership influence the joining process. Where youth join gangs, namely, the neighborhood and social context, also impacts individual opportunities and preferences for joining. When youth join gangs is considered in a developmental sense, to include both adolescent and adult onset, in order to account for continuity and change in individual levels of immersion or “embeddedness” in gangs across the life course. Who joins gangs provides a profile of gang membership grounded in the well-documented risk factors for gang membership, but limited by problems of prediction. Why youth join gangs speaks to the push and pull factors for membership, the appeal of gangs, and the selective incentives they offer. Still, motivations for gang membership cannot fully explain selection into gangs, nor can general theories of crime that do not necessarily fit with general knowledge of gangs. How youth join gangs, for example, is more complicated than initiation rites. The mechanisms underlying the selection process can be understood through the lens of signaling theory, with implications for practice.

Article

Palliative Care  

Terry Altilio and Dana Ribeiro

Palliative care is a burgeoning specialty in medicine, nursing, social work and chaplaincy which privileges patient-centered, family-focused care provided across settings. Rather than a singular focus on a disease or an organ of the body, clinicians serve persons with serious illness with an approach that honors the whole person, their priorities, values and goals. In contrast to hospice care, palliative care is accessible at any point along the continuum of illness and is often provided concurrently with disease-modifying or potentially curative therapies as in the treatment of many persons with various cancers. Palliative care clinicians often work in interdisciplinary teams who collaborate with primary teams such as oncology or cardiology to identify and respond to the physical, psychological, social and spiritual needs of patients and their families. Palliative care programs are extending beyond the confines of acute care settings to venues such as outpatient clinics, home and extended care facilities. Signal events have contributed to the history, evolving role and presence of social work in this specialty. Palliative social work brings values and skills that reflect a whole person in environment perspective that is elegantly congruous with the palliative approach to care.

Article

Intelligence in War  

John Ferris

A large literature has emerged on intelligence and war which integrates the topics and techniques of two disciplines: strategic studies and military history. The literature on intelligence and war is divided into theory and strategy; command, control, communications, and intelligence (C3I); sources; military estimates in peace; deception; conventional operations; strike; and counter-insurgency and guerilla warfare. Sun Tzu treats intelligence as central to all forms of power politics, and even defines strategy and warfare as “the way of deception.” On the other hand, C3I combines signals and data processing technology, command as thought, process and action, the training of people, and individual and bureaucratic modes of learning. Since 1914, the power of secret sources has risen dramatically in peace and war, revolutionizing the value of intelligence for operations, especially at sea. The strongest area in this study is signals intelligence. Meanwhile, the relationship of intelligence with war, and with power politics, overlaps on the matter of military estimates during peacetime. The literature on operational intelligence is strongest on World War II. However, analysts have particularly failed to differentiate the effect of intelligence on operations, from that on a key element of military power since 1914: strike warfare. In counter-insurgency, many types and levels of war and intelligence overlap, which include guerillas, conventional and strike forces, and politics in villages and capitals.

Article

Cybervetting  

Brenda L. Berkelaar and Millie A. Harrison

Broadly speaking, cybervetting can be described as the acquisition and use of online information to evaluate the suitability of an individual or organization for a particular role. When cybervetting, an information seeker gathers information about an information target from online sources in order to evaluate past behavior, to predict future behavior, or to address some combination thereof. Information targets may be individuals, groups, or organizations. Although often considered in terms of new hires or personnel selection, cybervetting may also include acquiring and using online information in order to evaluate a prospective or current client, employee, employer, romantic partner, roommate, tenant, client, or other relational partner, as well as criminal, civil, or intelligence suspects. Cybervetting takes advantage of information made increasingly available and easily accessible by regular and popular uses and affordances of Internet technologies, in particular social media. Communication scholars have long been interested in the information seeking, impression management, surveillance, and other processes implicated in cybervetting; however, the uses and affordances of new online information technologies offer new dimensions for theory and research as well as ethical and practical concerns for individuals, groups, organizations, and society.