Serial Killers Serial killers have struck fear in the hearts of people, yet the public remains fascinated and intrigued by the crimes perpetrated by these individuals. There are several theories and factors that have been attributed to serial killers in an attempt to explain their behaviors. Furthermore, by indentifying the behaviors that are exhibited by serial killers, law enforcement professionals are able to gather information about these serial killers that will assist in the apprehension of the criminal. In the majority of serial homicides, a motivating factor, in addition to domination and manipulation of a victim, is the sexual gratification and desire that is experienced by the serial killer. Serial killers murder individuals …show more content…
Michael H. Stone in The Anatomy of Evil states that there are several factors that influence a serial killer’s behavior. The factors that may influence behavior are presented in a nature versus nurture model with occasional factors falling into a category of mixed and/or unknown origins (201). The factors that Stone considers to pertain to an individual’s natural environment include mental illness that is coupled with psychosis, schizophrenia, manic-depression, autism, and Aspergers Syndrome. Also included in the list of natural factors are mental illnesses without psychosis such as ADD and ADHD, alcoholism, epilepsy, and an inordinate sexual drive (201). Personality disorders are considered to be inherent to an individual and are therefore considered to be a part of an individual’s natural environment; personality disorders include being antisocial, psychopathic, schizoid, sadistic, paranoid, and/or impulsive-aggressive (201). Stone identifies nurture factors as parental physical/sexual/verbal abuse, parental abandonment and/or neglect, the loss of a parent, absence of a father, separation and/or divorce of the parental unit before the child is 16, and brain disease or damage (201). The factors that Stone considers to be attributed to mixed or unknown origins include paraphilia, juvenile delinquency, substance abuse, alcoholism, conduct disorders that are committed in childhood, animal torture and arson,
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Statistically, the average serial killer is a white male from a lower-to-middle-class background, usually in his twenties or thirties. Many were physically or emotionally abused by parents. Some were adopted. As children, fledgling serial killers often set fires, torture animals, and wet their beds (these red-flag behaviors are known as the “triad” of symptoms.) Brain injuries are common. Some are very intelligent and have shown great promise as successful professionals. They are also fascinated with the police and authority in general (Scott).
Serial murder is one of the most baffling crimes that occur in the U.S. and all over the world. Knight (2006) defines serial murder as the killing of three or more people over a period of more than 30 days, with a significant cooling-off period. The cooling off period may be weeks, months or even years long. Researchers have proposed various psychological, biological and sociological theories that offer a partial understanding of the nature of serial murder. Some propose that the basis for criminal behavior is a predisposition to violence as well as a mix between environment, personality traits and biological factors. Serial killers are predominantly male. Only 3 percent of serial murders are committed by women (U.S. News and World Report,
There are many theories as to why people become serial killers. Almost all of these concepts are associated with the Nature vs. Nurture theory. Are serial killers born with the need to kill, or is it something that they learn to long for as they grew up? Many believe that the nurture theory is the likely concept to believe; that serial killers are created from bad childhood experiences including being abused by their parents, or molested at an early age. Psychologist and sociologist have interviewed serial killers and picked apart their minds, to find out what it is that makes them feel the need to perform these heinous crimes. It is the nature theory that they are looking for when
A serial killer is traditional defined as the separate killings of three or more people by an individual over a certain period of time, usually with breaks between the murders. (Angela Pilson, p. 2, 2011) This definition has been accepted by both the police and academics and therefore provides a useful frame of reference (Kevin Haggerty, p.1, 2009). The paper will seek to provide the readers with an explanation of how serial killers came to be and how they are portrayed in the media.
This literature review focuses on serial killers from a psychological viewpoint while trying to answer the question, “Are serial killers born to kill or are they bred to kill?” Firstly, this review will define a serial killer and the different kinds of killers, then it will take a look at different case studies of children who fantasized about mass killing and identify similarities between the cases attempt to find a way to possibly prevent their fantasies from becoming reality. The debate of nature vs. nurture is also discussed as psychologists and researchers come to the conclusion that environmental factors play a bigger role in the developmental character of a person than genetics, but there is still no definite answer as to why some individuals grow up with the urge to murder other people and/or animals.
The question of whether or not man is predetermined at birth to lead a life of crime is a question that has been debated for decades. Are serial killers born with the lust for murder, or are their desires developed through years of abuse and torment? Many believe it is impossible for an innocent child to be born with the capability to commit a horrible act such as murder. But at the same time, how could we have corrupted society so much as to turn an innocent child into a homicidal maniac? Forensic psychologists have picked apart the minds of serial killers to find an answer as to what forces them to commit such perverse acts. Their ultimate goal is to learn how to catch a serial killer before
What triggers a serial killer to kill? Is it just a fantasy, but let’s look a little deeper. Could it be child hood mistreatment or abuse, could it be neglect, feeling let down and feeling alone or maybe that someone just has an motive to kill. I truly believe that each and every killer has there reason.
Denise Mann is a freelance health writer in New York. Her articles regularly appear in WebMD, health.com, cnn.com, Arthritis Today magazine, American Profile magazine and special sections of the Wall Street Journal. In this article, Mann explained the genetic factors that lead to psychopathy in serial killers. She also examined the abuse factor in developing a serial killer. Mann used BTK as an example of a psychopath and explained how his psychopathy lead him to become a serial killer, which helped me relate Dennis Rader, BTK, to a serial killer who developed from psychopath factors, such as traits they display.
Throughout time there has always been mentally disturbed people, but the problem is that they are on the streets and not in a psych ward. As you read this paper you will learn about some of the most infamous serial killers of the 20th century and the horrific atrocities they committed. We will go inside the mind of a serial killer and discover what drives them to kill people and also why some serial killers love to devour their victims, keep their limbs and even continue to preform sexual acts with them even after there are already dead.
One motivation that quickly becomes apparent within a serial killer is that of psychopathy. Psychopathic traits include narcissism, irresponsibility, lack of empathy, promiscuity, poor behavior, lying, and impulsivity (Arrigo & Griffin, 2004). Because psychopaths lack the ability to care or feel for their victims, it is easy for the perpetrator to disregard them and perform whatever acts they wish upon them. A psychopathic person also feels a low sense of self-worth, which can be
How do the minds of serial killers function? What drives them to commit such violent and horrific crimes? For some serial killers their motive is based on either emotional or physical trauma they experienced throughout their lives. Although for one of America’s most infamous killers of the twentieth century, Jeffrey Dahmer both the physical and emotional traumas he experienced are what drove him to commit some of the most gruesome crimes America has ever seen.
Although the prevalence of the serial killer is ultimately unknown, many researchers agree about “one-half of 1%” of homicides are determined to be the product of serial killers (Homant & Kennedy, 2014). In order to prevent future victims, improve the ability of law enforcement to detect and apprehend, potentially incorporate treatment for current serial killers, and increase the ability to detect potential future serial killers it is important to identify characteristics that may cause one to become a serial killer. The question researchers have strived to answer is are serial killers born or are there explicit factors that contribute to someone ultimately becoming a serial killer? Researchers have potentially exposed several factors that potentially contribute to one becoming a serial killer. These conditions are notably greater in prevalence in known serial killers compared to the general population. These factors consist of family dynamics/parental characteristics, experienced child abuse (physical, sexual, and neglect), and psychological disorders.
The idea of serial killers and the role they play in our lives has fascinated people since the cases of Jack the Ripper and H.H. Holmes, although serial murderers existed before them. The infamous and mysterious complexities of these cases have puzzled and terrified people for over a century. Perhaps due to the deviant and taboo nature of serial killings, people in our society and others have tried to attribute many reasons for why they occur. In this search for answers, one major scope has been widely left out of the research: the sociological imagination. It is through this method of understanding that I will attempt to explain the development of serial killers and apply theories that explain the frequency of serial killings in our society.
Though serial killer may have a fairly specific definition, there is no single precise profile for the serial killer. Each has a unique identity, set of motives and methods, and a unique psychopathology that would attempt to explain the mens rea, that is, the purpose or intent of the murder. “Psychological profiling is an investigative tool used strictly to answer the how of the crime, not the why” (Severence et al, 1992; Lanier and Henry, 1998). By examining the psychological make-up of the serial killer, it is often possible to explain the behavior, which might make it a useful tool in solving crimes.
The events of the past can hold a great influence on the actions and behaviors of the future. From being raised in a supportive and loving home, to one that is full of neglect and abuse, each event can potentially impact the future of an individual. In the case of serial killers, there has been some debate on whether the evil ones are made or born; does it happen because of a genetic factor, environmental factor, or is it simply they addicted to the feeling of slaughtering another individual’s life? Although, the most important key in finding the truth deals with the past and shapes the outcome of the future. Upon viewing in a psychological stance, there is no clear understanding of why one aspect that most serial killers share, namely