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It is evident that serial killers have an aspect that is wrong within their head. Damage within the brain influences serial killers to commit crimes such as murder. The most common section of the brain that is damaged or underdeveloped in serial killers is the frontal lobe. “The frontal lobe of the brain is responsible for association with reasoning, planning, problem solving, and aggression”(Borchert). Damage to this part of the brain can manipulate and result in actions that are often uncontrollable. It can result in an increase in irritability, which may include a change in mood and an inability to regulate behavior. Showing that any individual who receives damage to their frontal lobe will tend to have a harder time controlling their behavior, for serial killers this is much more relevant. One can compare it to having a boost of adrenaline, the excitement of an event or situation can often be blinding to the actions of any individual. The act of murdering a victim can be a boost of adrenaline for a serial killer, and while their murdering their victim, they don’t realize what has happened until the moment is over. This does not mean this situation can be used as an excuse, rather it helps psychologists and society better understand how the actions from the killer may not have been consciously acted upon.
The Amygdala, which is located in the Limbic system of the brain is associated with emotions. This part of the brain controls how emotions interact with one another in the brain and sends signals to one’s body on the type of emotion they’re feeling in the moment. This section of the brain does not physically become damaged, but is damaged through experience at an early age with serial killers. It is common that serial killers were rejected among society as an adolescent which causes them to form hatred or no emotion at all towards other individuals. “When an individual is rejected and excluded from society, they begin to be very intuitive with themselves and begin to fantasize”(Anderson). These fantasies give a serial killer control over their own life, a chance for them to understand what is going on and nobody else. Since they didn’t have control over being accepted early on in life with interactions, these fantasies give them a chance to create their own world where everything is in the hands of their own. When it comes to the emotions of the amygdala, this explains that serial killers lack emotion and tend to have no empathy for anything, even themselves. They know that something is wrong but continue killing others in hopes that the damage will go away, but it only feeds off their actions and continues to grow. “That is why it is typical for a serial killer to not feel bad about their crimes because they don’t have empathy. The murders are solely for the purpose of having power and control over someone, since they don’t have it over themselves”(Raymond).
Common Traits Among Serial Killers
When studying serial killers, it is often that researchers try to connect cases to others from past events. This helps gains knowledge of how to understand killers because one may be able to know the next move or explain why they killed a victim a certain way. It also can detect copycat serial killers, which helps in finding victims that are missing, can help track down a killer if their on the loose, or even using it as a way to manipulate the serial killer and trying to get answers out of them.
What has been found is that serial killers are manipulative, but they’re also very good at making sure you don’t know you’re being manipulated. ” We all live under a sense of believing that evil is something that doesn’t exist. The person we just met or the person who lives next door to us isn’t evil, mostly because we like to believe that horror is something that happens in movies and to other people. Even those of us who are not emotionally invested in a relationship with a dangerous person can be manipulated”(Trasner). Generally speaking, if someone is being flattered or distracted with gifts, and if those actions appear designed to cover something up, like flaws in a story, an individual has to keep their guard up. “Psychopaths look for vulnerabilities and try to use them against people, so you need to know what your vulnerabilities are”(Trasner).
One of the FBI’s favorite techniques when interviewing serial killers is flattery. Psychopathic killers in particular tend to have a huge sense of their own self-worth, so investigators will use praise to get them talking. “In an FBI document about serial murder, behaviorists say psychopathic serial killers don’t respond to “altruistic interview themes,” in other words, trying to make them experience feelings of guilt and sympathy for their victims is a waste of time”(Smith). Instead, interviewers might admire them for their intelligence or for their skill at outsmarting investigators. Serial killers often feed off being applauded for their crimes, its an excitement factor that motivates them to keep pursuing their murders. It is exactly what they’re looking for as a result of their murder, being known and talked about among society for their crimes.
Another common trait that most serial killer share with one another is their intelligence. Serial killers in their earlier years were often very successful in the classroom, which is weird to think since one wouldn’t expect a good student to turn into a serial killer. The unfortunate result of having such great intelligence, is that serial killers use their smarts for the wrong reason. “They use it to premeditate their murders, investigate routines among their victims, reason within their head the possible outcomes if a certain situation doesn’t work out”(Woollaston). That is why they get away with murders so easily, because they plan it out so precisely that there is often no room for mistakes. The amount of intelligence they tend to have makes their crimes and success that much easier for themselves because they’re able to always be five steps ahead when being sought after.

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