Parental investment decision rules and the Concorde fallacy

Robert Craig Sargent, Mart R. Gross

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Investment theory states that animals should base their parental investment decisions on expected benefits, and not on whether or not past investment will be wasted. Otherwise, they would comnit the Concorde fallacy. If reproduction has a cost, however, then past investment and expected benefits are necessarily confounded. Assuming a cost of reproduction, animals will be selected to maximize their remaining lifetime reproductive success, subject to a tradeoff between present and future reproduction (Williams' principle). We extend Williams' principle and develop an experimental design that would allow past investment and expected benefits to be varied independently. This design illustrates the importance of the value of the brood relative to the value of future reproduction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-45
Number of pages3
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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