Broadway Danny Rose is one of Woody Allen’s lesser known films, but I’d argue one of his best. I was reminded of the movie the other day when I was thinking about various non-verbal displays of strength in nature.
In the clip below (first 30 seconds), two men are “tearing money”–literally taking cold hard cash and tearing it to pieces. Each time one of them tears some cash the other ups the ante and tears even more money:
It’s a pretty creative way of sending a costly signal–demonstrating one’s type through a costly act that only a strong actor could afford to send. In this case, the two men are engaging in a kind of relational signaling–the one that can tear the most money will prove that they are stronger of the two.