Clark Mansion


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I agree with some of the other comments: one has to account for what type of conversation one is having, and with whom. Imagine a loving father and his daughter - their conversation wouldn't necessarily be dominated by the need to signal.

More in general, I believe that signalling could be better understood if seen in the context of polyvagal theory. The nervous systems has different "gears" depending on whether one feels oneself to belong, be safe and esteemed, or whether the environment is more indifferent or hostile towards oneself [see also the sociometer theory of self-esteem]. When the so-called social engagement system is running, we don't feel the need to one-up each other the same way we do when the fight-flight system is running. To me it seems that a lot of neo-darwinian evolutionary theory has lost sight of this nuance.