Psychology Behind Serial Killers Essays

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It’s 1975 and a pretty young woman with long dark hair parted in the middle is working at a convenience store. An attractive man in his mid-thirties walks in, about six feet tall and with wavy brown hair. He gives her a smile and strikes up a conversation, where he is charming and charismatic. Little does she know that she’s in deep trouble. His name is Ted Bundy, one of the worst serial killers of the twentieth century, and he has a thing for attractive young women with long dark hair parted down the middle (Philbin 34). Serial killers come in many forms. They range from well-educated, articulate men and women, to those who have had nothing in life. Psychiatric illness and unfortunate life events often underlie the behavior of serial …show more content…
“You feel the last bit of breath leaving their body. You're looking into their eyes. A person in that situation is God!” (Philbin 6). The infographic to the left lists the many characteristics and tendencies serial killers have.
The most common characteristic of serial killers is that they are psychopaths. Psychopaths have no sense of ethics or emotions,although they are good at mimicking emotions to deceive people (Hirstein). According to Doctor Berit Brogaard and Kristian Marlow of Psychology Today, the causes of psychopathy remain a mystery. A study was done called the Minnesota Study of Twins Reared Apart to determine whether traits are a result of nature or nurture. This study showed that psychopathy is 60 percent heritable. This percentage indicates that psychopathic traits are due more to DNA than to upbringing (Brogaard, Berit, and Marlow). Abnormalities in the brain are the immediate sources of psychopathic traits This fact is supported by a study done in Wisconsin, Madison. This study shows a correlation between brain abnormality and criminal psychopathy. Stated in an article in Psychology today, “As this brain abnormality in the majority of cases of psychopathic criminals is not abruptly acquired, there is good reason to think that it's grounded in the psychopath's DNA” (Brogaard, Berit, and Marlow). When Serial Killers are caught, many of them plead insanity. According to Shirley Lynn Scott, the legal definition of insanity is based on the

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