Monday, April 26, 2010

Role Playing: Applications in Hostage and Crisis Negotiation Skills Training

This article provides an overview of various applications of the role playing are used by the FBI as part of their crisis negotiation training. The article states that role playing is a recognized and successful tool in behavioral assessment, which encourages the application of the technique. In crisis negotiation role playing, participants develop critical active listening skills commonly used to resolve crisis situations. The article highlights a number of role playing tests and activities performed by the FBI. Additionally it highlights a possible future trend in digital applications to crisis negotiation. Validation for the method is limited to studies indicating increased abilities among subject who had undergone extensive role playing.

Types of Role Playing Activities:
-Table top
-Partial/Full scale

-Allowed for development of critical skills in a controlled environment
-Enabled critical feedback from supervisor
-provides an engaging learning environment.
-Identifies potential weaknesses

-Cannot account for all real world issues
-Requires a capable confederate force
-Limited field validation (in crisis negotiation)
-Require extensive resources for full scale exercise

Role Playing: Applications in Hostage and Crisis Negotiation Skills Training
Van Hasselt, Vincent B., Romano, Stephen J., Vecchi, Gregory M.
Behav Modif, Mar 2008; vol. 32: pp. 248-263


  1. Although role-playing is very helpful in assessing how an adversary might react in a given situation, understanding the adversary’s culture is very important. Not everyone has the same reaction to a particular situation.

  2. Yeah, it seems that role playing has some significant drawbacks. Mainly how serious the actors take their roles, and how they actually understand them.