Assessing Serial Killers

This is perhaps a question that has different views by thousands of researchers all over the world. It is a fact that serial killers are people who have murdered more than three people over a while. One may ask why the serial killers commit such crimes and the actions that can be taken to end their activities. The bigger question remains; how did these people become serial killers? Were they born into one or they are a result of social and cultural factors?

It is until the late 19th century that people started to believe in the connection between neural structures and how humans behave. Everyone else had earlier believed that the murders done by serial killers were a result of social and cultural factors. This is because of the assumption that human beings were born with minds which were mutable and that one’s behavior was based on the upbringing and experiences. The activities of some serial killers were even attributed to the brutish experience that took place during the industrial revolution (Stubbersfield 300).

As mentioned, there was a study on how the brain could be a result of criminal behavior. As at now, there is a lot of information about the differences in the brains of serial killers and the gentle ones. The belief that the human mind was mutable became questionable. It was a fact that damage to the prefrontal cortex of the brain could make a gentle person to be a violent one. With this realization, it was evident that some aspects of how we behave are as a result of our biological make up. That is, how we were born. (Stubbersfield 307)

The limbic system of a serial killer’s brain has a reduced grey matter of up to 10%. This is where the emotions of human beings are processed. This makes them be empathy-deficient and have a reduced regulation of fear. Similarly, the neural circuits which connect the limbic system with the frontal lobe are usually less active in the brains of serial killers. When this region of the brain becomes less active, inappropriate behavior and regulation of emotions are not possible. The effect is increased impulsivity, violence, and reduced empathy. (Gurian 561).

With the realization of a biological cause of violence comes the many other unanswered questions. Researchers ask if those whose brain matter is deficient would become serial killers. Should their criminal responsibility be blamed on their brain? What actions should one take when a child displays signs of a serial killer? We cannot dispute the fact that 68% of serial killers underwent childhood abuse. This still supports the fact that there is indeed a cultural aspect in the making of a serial killer. (Gurian 560)

In conclusion, the increased violence, reduced empathy, impulsivity, fearlessness and other behavioral characteristics of serial killers are connected to the damages and deficiencies in their brains. On the other hand, no one is born evil. Most serial killers had a bad childhood experience that actually affected who they grew up to become. All in all, not all serial killers were born with deficiencies in their brain that made them violent, neither did all of them have a bad childhood experience.

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