How can you explain that pale skin and suntans have often been used as status symbols in different environments? Under which conditions?


They are signals. Where people work outdoors, having a pale skin signals you do not need to work for a living. When people work indoors, suntans do the same. In both cases, the signals are effective only when it is too costly for working people to imitate them. (Based on Pinker, 1997, p. 500).

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