What makes people do inexplicable, terrible, socially unacceptable acts of violence? This question brings to mind the age old psychological theory, Nature vs. Nurture. Are people born predisposed for violence? Is there something genetically different about serial killers and murderers? Can their behavior be explained by a difference in their very make-up? Or are they made violent by seeing violence, having un-supportive and demanding parents, being mentally, sexually, and physically abused? Nature vs. nurture is one of the most sought after answers in the field of psychology and may never be “answered” but can be “understood” I feel study in the minds of serial killers has helped to define exactly what nature vs. nurture really means.
The importance of somebody’s nature, their genetic make-up, has been studied time and time again. Studies on the minds of psychopaths have given us another unique perspective on how much impact one’s nature really has over their behaviors and actions. Tests have shown that the nervous systems of psychopaths encounter less fear and anxiety than normal people. Tests have proven that low arousal levels have caused these individuals to project impulsive thrill-seeking behavior. Proven by one experiment, a group of healthy individuals and a group of serial killers were given the task of finding which lever out of four turned on a green light. One of the levers gave the subject an electric shock. Though both groups made the same number of mistakes the sociopaths took much longer in learning to stay away from the lever with the electric shock. This higher need for stimulation leads these individuals to seek dangerous situations. In fact most serial killers have a desire to become cops, the intensity of the job makes it exciting and desirable to them. The famous serial killer John Wyane Gacy, responsible for the rape and murder of 33 teenage boys and young men, told psychologists he would follow the sound of an ambulance to see what...
Bibliography: Evaluating a psychological profile of a serial killer
The Mind of a Serial Killer
What Makes Serial Killers Tick? — Monsters or Victims? — Crime ...
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