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Intimidation

The word intimidation has a wide range of meanings in social and biological sciences. In the Oxford English Dictionary, intimidate means to “frighten or overawe (someone), especially in order to make them do what one wants.” It can be used as a verb (“The thought of a police officer watching Jim shoplift intimidated him”), an adverb (“The professor looked at students intimidatingly if she thought they were cheating”), or a noun (“Bullies are intimidators”). Intimidating behavior occurs across the animal kingdom. Social scientists have studied human intimidators’ words and gestures that frighten, scare, threaten, bully, and harass their victims. Biologists have studied intimidation in the form of survival mechanisms among predators and prey in food chains. Researchers studying intimidation in humans’ verbal and nonverbal communication ...

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