Review of Psychological Study on Crisis Negotiation

Jianqing LIU


The crisis negotiation is a law enforcement action to remove the threat of hijackers and rescue hostages in a peaceful way. The essence of successful crisis negotiation is effective communication. About forty years of practical experience and empirical research on crisis intervention show that the way of communication is better than that of the tactical attack; the personality traits of a negotiator, such as emotional stability, empathic ability, divergent thinking mode, etc., have an important influence; the hijackers are characterized with emotionality, criminality and spirituality in diversified motivations, and paranoid type and abnormalism in personality and behavioral characteristics; the hostages may appear specific subconscious self-defense reaction of Stockholm syndrome during the crisis; and the successful negotiator shall be the combination of police and clinical psychologist with rich practical experience, and be the “psychologist with gun” with an effective confrontation to the hijackers and crisis events.

Based on early practice and theoretical model of crisis negotiation, this article focuses on reviewing and analyzing the communication techniques such as active listening, self-exposure and role playing in crisis negotiation, characteristics and psychological reactions of hijackers and hostages, and personalities and behavioral characteristics of negotiators and selection and training programs of negotiators.



Crisis negotiation; Negotiation skill; Negotiation expert; Stockholm Syndrome

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