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de Groot, Corne; Wijnhorst, Rori E.; Ratz, Tom; Murray, Myranda; Araya-Ajoy, Yimen G.; Wright, Jonathan and Dingemanse, Niels J. (2022): The importance of distinguishing individual differences in 'social impact' versus 'social responsiveness' when quantifying indirect genetic effects on the evolution of social plasticity. In: Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Vol. 144, 104996

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Social evolution and the dynamics of social interactions have previously been studied under the frameworks of quantitative genetics and behavioural ecology. In quantitative genetics, indirect genetic effects of social partners on the socially plastic phenotypes of focal individuals typically lack crucial detail already included in treatments of social plasticity in behavioural ecology. Specifically, whilst focal individuals (e.g. receivers) may show vari-ation in their 'responsiveness' to the social environment, individual social partners (e.g. signallers) may have a differential 'impact' on focal phenotypes. Here we propose an integrative framework, that highlights the distinction between responsiveness versus impact in indirect genetic effects for a range of behavioural traits. We describe impact and responsiveness using a reaction norm approach and provide statistical models for the assessment of these effects of focal and social partner identity in different types of social interactions. By providing such a framework, we hope to stimulate future quantitative research investigating the causes and consequences of social interactions on phenotypic evolution.

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