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(3) The threat was communicated to the victim either verbally, in writing, or by electronic communication.Cow implies bringing out an abject state of timorousness and often demoralization: a dog that was cowed by abuse.Intimidation (also called cowing) is intentional behavior that "would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities" fear of injury or harm."Threat of harm generally involves a perception of injury...physical or mental damage..or instance of injury, or a material and detriment or loss to a person." Threatening behaviors may be conceptualized as a maladaptive outgrowth of normal competitive urge for interrelational dominance generally seen in animals.Alternatively, intimidation may result from the type of society in which individuals are socialized, as human beings are generally reluctant to engage in confrontation or threaten violence.
Like all behavioral traits it exists in greater or lesser manifestation in each individual person over time, but may be a more significant "compensatory behavior" for some as opposed to others.
Behavioral theorists often see threatening behaviours as a consequence of being threatened by others, including parents, authority figures, playmates and siblings.