Interview with FBI Negotiator – Slate

We feel like if we demonstrate understanding we are exposed. And we’re scared to death of that. You’re doing that because you’re a human being and you have something in the middle of your brain called the amygdala. Many people [think of it as] my caveman brain. The amygdala is wired to be 75 percent negative. So your survival mode is wired to always overreact negatively to everything you’re faced with until you learn the difference between survival and success. We’re not wired for success as human beings, we’re wired to survive and that’s why, having not gone down this path before, your initial instinct—your caveman wiring—is “I’m exposed. I’m going to have to give in.” But tactical empathy—expressing the situation from [the other person’s] side—does more for you than it does for them. And, it takes away the stress [of negotiations].

Charles Duhigg
How To Win Arguments Like an FBI Hostage Negotiator