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Criminal psychology: how is a serial killer?

Criminal psychology: how is a serial killer?

June 21, 2024

Psychology of the serial killer, criminal psychology

Perhaps because of the alarm it generates, because of its harshness or the intellectual challenge that its study demands, the serial murders have been since the appearance of Forensic Psychiatry one of the main foundations of the study of the criminal. Until now, it has not been possible to establish definitively which is the psycho-clinical profile that delimits the murderer in series of a normal citizen.

It is known that the psychological background of the profile of a serial killer is that of a child humiliated, abused and violated. In half of the cases he has suffered paternal absence and considers his mother as a danger that must be protected.


Even so, in a recent discovery presented in the New England Journal of Medicine the anatomical differences between serial killers and ordinary people are confirmed. In the serial killer we can see a larger frontal lobe and therefore more functional, characteristic that gives them greater aggression and less empathy than the average .

The behavior, the strategy, the working memory and the planning capacity reside in the frontal lobe. It could be said that it is the most "human" part of our brain. Its hypertrophy indicates a high aggressiveness and, in turn, an increase in the ability to strategy as well as a low capacity for empathy that can lead to some risk of sadism.

The neurochemistry of the serial killer

According to Dr. Reid Meloy, another differential characteristic between serial killers and the rest of the population is an abnormally high level of manganese, iron and copper, such that has a direct impact on the decrease of dopamine and serotonin , which are relaxing substances that lower testosterone levels (a hormone that causes not only excessive aggression but also the need for mastery), in such a way that the individual suffers a behavioral alteration that overrides the criminal act in a desperate attempt to impose its superiority to their peers.

Unfortunately, even with the advance of this discovery, which allows us to get a little closer to the mind of the referential serial killer, these clinical findings do not yet allow us to predict or prevent the sadistic drive of these subjects.

It is necessary decipher the exact combination of factors that leads to this criminal behavior . Does science have an answer to this challenge? Without a doubt, possibly in a few years the answer will be found.

Discovering the life and minds of some serial killers

For detailed analyzes of the criminal psychology of some famous killers, we recommend the following monographs:

Ed Gein, 'the butcher of Plainfeld'

Jack the Ripper'

Psychology of Serial Killers with Jim Clemente (June 2024).

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