Power talk is complex signaling

I’ve noticed people seem to assume when I discuss any high-brow or complex topic that I must be status signalling, when I’m actually teaching somebody who asked me a question after hearing my reputation, so I think insecurity of the listener or observer should be factored into the false perception of signalling (a false negative, type 2 category error).

Aeoli Pera

This is a very trivial connection, but I think it’s an important one. I’m tempted to make the stronger statement “All charisma is complex signaling”, but I don’t have the go-ahead from my intuition. (Aha, I’ve just realized why: if the audience is homogeneous, then charisma consists of signaling the message “Am Alpha”.)

Power talk description is here.

Signaling description is here.

Most human speech is simple socializing, meant to imply (through signaling) “You should see that I have trait X” where X could mean “smart”, “funny”, “confident”, “American”, “subgroup Y of group Z”, and so on. A person who proclaims “Wittgenstein was an idiot” in a social gathering is more likely to be signaling “You should ascribe trait ‘smart’ to me” than to be engaged in description.

Good example is Roosh’s video featured on AlphaGame. This video is mostly simple signaling, where the message is “bet on…

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1. Be civil. 2. Be logical or fair. 3. Do not bore me.

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