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What Makes Serial Killers Kill? In What Ways Might Psychology, Sociology And Biology Contribute To Serial Killing?

2785 words - 11 pages

Serial killing is an horrific act. It requires a certain type of person to be capable of performing such an act, as it is not simply one murder being committed, but multiple ones. Due to this fact, there are no excuses such as self-defense or provocation to explain why the murder was committed, as in many cases. Serial killers commit these horrendous acts on several occasions, and thus in order to determine how they are capable of doing such a thing, it becomes necessary to explore how they came to be the people they are as well as looking at their personalities in fine detail. This essay will do so, first by exploring sociological perspectives which may have affected or influenced the killer's life, such as poor living conditions, absent or uninvolved parenting, as well as the notion of the observational learning. It will proceed to look into aggression in particular detail, and form theories on how it is created in an individual, both through observation and inheritance. As many serial killers suffer from mental illnesses, the essay will explore schizophrenia, borderline personality and anti-social personality disorder in particular, and look at how one comes to suffer from each of these, while relating it to particular notorious serial killers. The essay will additionally explore the notion of biology as a contributing factor, and look at particular studies done on criminal brain activity, as well as the structure of the brain and how damage can affect various parts of the personality. It will conclude in finding that psychology, sociology and biology, combined, provide many explanations for the type of unimaginable, and uncallous crimes committed by serial killers.Upon tracing the steps of an individual's childhood, many discoveries can be made, which lead to explanations behind such callous acts as murder. Socialization, and the family in particular, are major influences. Socialisation is 'the process by which children acquire the beliefs, values, and behaviours considered desirable or appropriate by the society to which they belong'(Shaffer, 2002:537). When developmentalists began studies on socialization in the 1940's and 1950's, their main focus was on mother-child relationships, and findings were generally that mothers were the ultimate molding agents when it came to conduct and character. (Ambert, 1992) Modern researchers have rejected this simplistic model however, and favoured more of a 'systems' approach. This approach basically recognizes that parents influence their children's behaviour. (Shaffer, 2002:537)To what extent this occurs however, must be examined when investigating criminal behaviour. We must look at an individual's family situation and whether this has had a positive or negative influence on the individual's life. Furthermore, when dealing with most criminals, it becomes necessary to take into account how much involvement their parents in fact had in their lives. When looking at serial killers, it usually becomes...

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