The Mind Peculiarities Of A Serial Killer

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Actions of serial killers have been documented in history for decades. Every story you hear sound more gruesome than the last. People have been trying to figure out for ages what makes someone want to kill another human being. It either comes down to how they where raised to just having their brains wired differently. Many people believe most serial killers are made that way because there is no humanly way possible a human can kill another human just cause. So, what really is the cause for all these people to become serial killers?

Some people think murders could be a sort of “mephitic” leisure for people. (Williams, D. (2016)) It’s kind of ominous to think someone can find killing someone entraining or enjoyment in it. But its understandable people think that could be a form of leisure for some people for, the simple fact of todays technology. With today’s technology everyone can read the horrifying stories of how people kill other people. From all the way to China to right here in the United states. In those articles you can read the past of a certain serial killer and you end up finding out they either had a rough childhood or where diagnosed with some sort of mental illness.

What defines a serial killer? The 3 common characteristics in all serial killers is, victims, time and incident. For somebody to be called a serial killer they must have killed more than 3 people. At 3 or more incidents or occurrences and a “cooling off time between each murder. So, from what is understood there is a clear difference between a serial killer, a mass murder, and from just a person going on a killing spree. Most of the reason for a serial killer is the motivation or relationship with the victim. So, a hitman would not be considered a a serial killer for the simple fact that they are just doing it for the money. (Culhane, S. E., Hilstad, S. M., Freng, A., & Gray, M. J. (2010))

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It is said its important for someone to study all these different types of serial killers for future references in hopes of making it easier to catch future serial killers. It is also useful to do these studies to help to see the psychology and mind of a serial killer. There are many tests that can be given to someone to test such things as demographics, personality disorders, psychopathy, criminal attitudes and behaviors, family experiences, and drug usage. One of the most widely used test is called The Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 also known as MMPI-2. This test consists of 567 true or false questions testing it is to aid in the assessments of psychopathologies, personality characteristics, and behavioral disorders. The Megargee Criminal Justice and Correctional Report was requested to compare the subject’s response with other incarcerated people. (Culhane, S. E., Hilstad, S. M., Freng, A., & Gray, M. J. (2010))

In the study conducted the subject is a male born in 1943. He’s currently incarcerated, he has never been diagnosed with a disability or a psychological disorder. He did have a rough child though, with an abusive father that later abandoned his siblings and mother. His first kill happened in 1972 he raped and killed his victim in cold blood abandoning the body behind the store dumpster. He has a total of about 4 victims all victims where either raped or tortured before being killed and abandoned. He was arrested on Labor day in 1972 and was sentenced to life in prison and also a second one for the rape.

The first test that was done on the subject was the MMPI-2 the scores revealed thing that where true such as the FAM score which was a 63-meaning subject maybe felt hostility and negative feelings towards family members, possibly being abused as a child. Due to his scores subject was classified in Group Delta. But he didn’t fit completely in that group because he didn’t have many psychological disturbances. So, it was concluded subject really had an average score and was a normal prisoner expect for his abused and rough family history. (Culhane, S. E., Hilstad, S. M., Freng, A., & Gray, M. J. (2010))

Before the research of this paper I did not know there where actually such tests that compared the psychology of serial killers. I knew there where many reasons somebody could become a serial killer, but I didn’t know what defined a serial killer such as the amount of people they killed and in how many instances they killed. So, for example someone who would have killed 3 persons in one day and never kill again would not be considered a serial killer. I also didn’t know there was such thing as Leisure researches who do such thing a research serial killer and why killing is a leisure to them. But I also realized that there’s still so much to research over serial killers and we can use all the information available for law enforcement to stop these people. So overall this research and any future research involving serial killers should be encouraged.


  1. Culhane, S. E., Hilstad, S. M., Freng, A., & Gray, M. J. (2010). Self-reported psychopathology in a convicted serial killer. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 8(1), 1–21. doi: 10.1002/jip.129
  2. Williams, D. (2016). Entering the Minds of Serial Murderers: The Application of Forensic Leisure Science to Homicide Research. Leisure Sciences, 39(4), 376–383. doi: 10.1080/01490400.2016.1234953
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