Emotional dominance of one's opponent is the key to what happens in violence-threatening situations.

The main emotion observed in such situations is confrontational tension/fear, and this makes most violence blustering and incompetent; most physical damage happens after one side establishes emotional dominance. Hence most successful violence looks like an atrocity.

The lecture considers what causes emotional dominance; prolonged struggles over dominance and their pathways to "forward panic" overkill against defeated victims; stalemates in which emotional dominance is never established and the contest winds down; and emotional stalemates resulting in prolonged war of attrition. Micro-sociological evidence incorporates visual images and close observation of emotional expression, time-sequences of events, subjective phenomenology, and physiological correlates. Practical advice is suggested for dealing with violent situations.

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