A research paper I have written on how serial killers brains differ from ours. A little lesson on what makes them tick!
According to the oxford English dictionary, a serial killer is defined as a person who commits a series of murders, often with no apparent motive and usually following a similar, characteristic pattern of behavior.
Have you ever wondered why serial killers kill; or wonder what makes Ted Bundy or Jeffery Dahmer different from you? Well there are a lot of things I’m sure, a serial killer is not solely based upon the makeup of their brain. Environment plays a large role in all cases of the development of a serial killer. But studies have been done that show similarities in the brains of your average murderer.
First off, after the brains of 70 notorious serial killers were examined. It showed that all seventy had some frontal lobe damage which would have been caused as children, by either abuse or accidental trama. Now to understand why this is important you need to understand what this part of the brain is responsible for. The frontal lobe located in the most anterior part of the brains hemispheres, and has been concluded by scientists to act as your conscience. Its essential functions are Self-control, planning, judgment, the balance of individual versus social needs, and many other essential functions underlying effective social intercourse are mediated by the frontal structures of the brain. This has been concluded by the massive amounts frontal lobotomy’s done in the 40’s and 50’s, and has also been shown to factor into about 64% of murder’s housed on death row right now in the united states(www.crimelibrary.com), I’m not saying that if you fall on your skull as a child you’ll be destined to murderous tendencies. I mean 36% are just fine and fully conscience of what they are doing. But after doing some research I am starting to believe that on a genetic level some may be more prone to this type of activity.
A Gene called Monoamine oxidase-A (MAOA) also known as the violent gene, is something that has been found in almost all serial Killers and many violent offenders. It is a brain enzyme which helps clean up neurotransmitters after they’ve done their job. Now there are two different types of cleaners, one that does its job and gets them all out; and one that does a piss poor job and leaves all these neurotransmitters sloshing around your brain driving you crazy. Now if you have the bad enzymes cock-tailed with a history of violence such as abuse or even being bullied as a kid you will have an 85% chance of being violent and having violent tendencies. An interesting thing about this, is it explains why we have so many more male serial killers than woman. It’s not because were stronger or because we have too much testosterone. It’s because our mother’s god bless them, have passed down the dysfunction in the form of the MAOA gene to their sons. Many genetic diseases that are carried by females become active in their male offspring. For example, the most common form of color blindness, affects about 7 percent of men and less than 1 percent of women. It is identified as a sex-linked hereditary characteristic, passed from the mother to her son.
If we combine these two problems; damage to the frontal lobe with the dysfunction of the MAOA gene, we can certainly conclude that we have someone who is genetically pre-disposed for violence. I like to think of the frontal lobe as stop button for violent and poor social decision making. So if you have the violent gene and were abused as a child causing frontal lobe damage, it is a possibility maybe even a probability that you are not only going to be violent but you may even kill? It posses a good argument as to why not to hit your children, as you could be creating a serial killer.
Some great resources if you wish to look onto this subject furthe:
Serial Killers A-Z:http://www.geocities.com/verbal_plainfield/encyclopedia.html
Another really good Serial Killer site:http://thepagandepot.com/serial_killers.html
An article on the MAOA Gene:http://www.blisstree.com/geneticsandhealth/maoa-gene-linked-to-violent-behavior/
Additional info on the frontal lobe: http://ligon.wcpss.net/curr/tutorials/brain/frontal.html
A lecture on the subject by Jim Fallon: http://www.ted.com/talks/jim_fallon_exploring_the_mind_of_a_killer.html