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Fighting Walnut Flies:
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Contents of the Fighting Walnut Flies module

Synopsis: The strange ritualized behavior exhibited in male-male contests is highlighted in this module. At the heart of the module are three interactive simulations, in which the user plays the role of a male walnut fly faced with an opponent. The user must decide whether to fight, run away, or perform a behavioral display. After 10 encounters, the score is totaled and evaluated. The module is about 10 pages long.

1. Introduction: why do some animals engage in seemingly pointless, ritualized behavior?

1a. Getting Started: learning objectives and technical requirements

2. Setup: explains the life-history of walnut flies, and introduces the interactive exercises to follow: you be the walnut fly!

3a. First scenario: an interactive game using costs/benefits to optimize behavior. At each stage of the game, you are confronted with another walnut fly, and you have to decide whether to fight or flee.
3. First scenario, no animation.

4a. Second scenario: Your choice is still between fighting and fleeing, but now, you have a little more information to go on...
4. Second scenario, no animation.

5a. Third scenario: Now you have three choices: fight, flee, or "display." What does "displaying" accomplish? You'll find out.
5. Third scenario, no animation.

6. Putting the "sequential" in "sequential assessment" -- how ritualized contests fit into the fascinating world of game theory.

6a. Honest signaling: why can't animals just bluff?

7. Actual research on sequential assessment in walnut flies.

7a. Intro to video clips of walnut flies engaged in sequential assessment behaviors:

8. Summary

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