Why Do Serial Killers Kill? Examining The Mind Of A Serial Killer

Why Do Serial Killers Kill? Examining The Mind Of A Serial Killer

Kimjun Demo
October 23 2022 - 05:37pm

Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution suggests that only those who are strong enough to adapt with the changing environment were the only ones to survive. This theory somehow plays a role in answering the question, “Why do serial killers kill and how did they develop these violent acts?”, and if you are a fan of whodunit plots and serial killer documentaries, you would surely know what I mean. This article is a closer look at how serial killers are made. To those who would like to decipher the facts behind these terrifying criminals, sit still as we wander through the mind of a criminal.

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Correcting The Misconception

One of the misconceptions about serial killers is that they are most likely to be called 'psychopaths' or 'sociopaths.' Take note that not all serial killers are psychopaths and not all psychopaths are serial killers. To clarify, psychopaths are considered people with a personality disorder, which is termed 'psychopathy'. People with this disorder are most likely to show no empathy, a lack of ability to love and tend to be manipulative in all ways. A sociopath, on the other hand, is a common term for Antisocial Personality Disorder, a personality disorder accompanied by a lack of guilt and humanity; they are most likely to kill for fun and satisfaction. These inhuman behaviors can somehow be acquired through these three common factors: biological, psychological, and social aspects.

One thing that we know is that serial killers do not just wake up one day and decide to torture their own kind and enjoy the bloodshed. It can either be a long manifestation process of violence or an effect of the environment in which these people came from. Reasons. Serial killers are full of reasons to kill, and we will tackle what we must know, one by one.

One of the three main factors that shape human development is the biological aspect. It can be thought of as the first thing that decides how we will feed ourselves as people.

Scientists in many fields believe that serial killers don't always start killing right away, but that their genes make them that way from birth.

As mentioned previously, those killers known as sociopaths lack fear and empathy. Studies found that the brain images of those who committed murders, in comparison to those who are considered normal, display much more brain activity. Theories suggest that these characteristics are the result of a malfunction in the anterior cingulate cortex, the brain part responsible for dealing with conflict responses, and the amygdala, which controls our reactions to fear. Damage to these parts of the brain makes it harder for a person to control their reactions and behaviors, which are already in their DNA. This makes it more likely that a person is a psychopath.

The conditions that make up the brain’s chemical balance, body, consciousness, and actions that are considered to belong to or characteristics of human nature generally affect a person’s behavior. Most biological problems, especially brain damage, make it harder for a person to control their actions and reactions, which makes them more likely to be a psychopath.

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The Phsycological Factors

Psychological motives are the drives of serial killers most recognized by people. Everybody expects serial killers to have a tragic background story, such as abuse or trauma, that triggers their aggression to kill. So, this area will give you information that not everyone knows about the serial killer's mind and why he or she kills.

Sigmund Freud, a famous proponent of psychoanalytic theory, believes that human behavior is driven by sexual drives and aggression contained in our unconscious. He explained that our mind is composed of 3 structures of personality, which are: the Id, or the pleasure principle; the Ego, or the reality principle; and the Superego, or the moral principle. The interaction and conflict between these human mind compositions is said to control and create our personality. Born with the Id, or our pleasure principle, Freudian theory believes that these aggressive and destructive stimuli push these killers to commit violent crimes.

Evidence of this theory is the vast number of serial killing cases that happened all over the world that were accompanied by rape and torture. The destructive violence suggests that serial killers seek pleasure in the form of murder. Most of the serial killers known in our time, like Jerry Brudos, for example, an American serial killer known as the 'Shoe Fetish Slayer', also a necrophiliac and ephebophilia rapist, display these kinds of killing patterns. The pleasure of repeating these unpleasant acts empowers killers to repeat them over and over as it satisfies them. In some cases, psychologists found that the reason for these insatiable obsessions is the result of filling some void that the killers have within themselves.

Another motivation under the psychological factors is related to deep childhood traumas and abandonment. According to psychological analysis, family dysfunction and childhood abandonment lead to the development of heinous criminal acts. With no proper guidance, a person will likely be molded into whatever fantasy grows along with him. Revenge, resentment, bottled emotions, and a lack of need for affection might be strong driving forces for suggested violence. The case of Jeffrey Dahmer is one example of a result of psychological motivations. During his early years, Dahmer experienced patterns of psychological trauma as a result of his parents' cycle of arguments. Feeling alone and abandoned, he seeks release by killing animals and dissecting them.

As the famous idea goes, addiction begins with the first taste. When a person with a killing fantasy commits their first murder, you can be certain that he or she will never stop. The manifestations that were once contained will never be satisfied, even after a hundred kills. That is how a serial killer started to play.

Social And Environmental Factors

In this part of the article, you will most likely discover that you have the ability to create a serial killer and that some of the killers were once prey.

A diathesis-stress model, which says that environmental stressors cause some serial killers to go crazy, talks about a well-known cause of serial killers.

Pedro Lopez, famously known as the Monster of the Andes, was a serial killer who is believed to have murdered over 300 young girls, mostly from poor, rural, Amerindian communities. Upon arrest, he was diagnosed as a sociopath with an avoidant personality disorder. It was then known that Lopez was a product of sexual abuse. Growing up, watching his mother do sexual activities developed his sexual affection towards innocence. Because of this environment and the fact that he didn't have a sexual partner when he was young, Lopez became a monster. This was the main thing that caused him to become this way.

This case is just one of many childhood experiences that influence a person to perform inhuman activities. Imitating mechanical influences in our environment can be done slowly, especially for young children who are still growing. B.F. Skinner, known for his classical conditioning, explains how behavior can be shaped through modeling. If we grow up in a place where violence is rampant, then violence will most likely be a part of who we are.

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Studies have found that most serial killers have a background of childhood violence and a series of horrific exposures, thus becoming a mechanism that turns humans into serial killers. For instance, violent stages in a person’s development are more likely to establish a manifestation of violence. Fear was masked away by adapting to the violence inflicted on them. The victims were then persuaded to become what they feared as a way to stay alive. They developed displacement as a way to deal with the pain they had been through and went after weaker people to hurt them the way they had been hurt.

The information stated may have been valuable knowledge in understanding how these kinds of people’s minds work. Human beings opt to survive by any means, adapting different coping mechanisms just to endure the cruelty of the world. However, this doesn’t suggest the serial killers' innocence. The ABC Model of Attitude by Albert Ellis clarifies that no matter what our antecedents are, it is up to us to decide how we are going to partake in this life. 

Whether the past is considerable, it is our chosen behavior, the good or the evil, that will lead us forward to where the consequences await. Furthermore, what was said is a warning to everyone; we may not be serial killers, but we can be contributors to it. We are a part of the process. Our behavior and attitude towards others affect their way of life and thinking as well. Now that you know how to make a serial killer, you may be equipped enough to avoid creating one.

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