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Old 09-16-2008, 08:20 PM   #1
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Serial Killers

An interesting debate popped up in my psychology class. Are serial killers born or are they made? That is, nature vs. nurture.

I'd say nurture if it wasn't for the case of Jeffery Dahmer, he was one of the weirder ones and the only thing in his life was that his parents fought and eventually divorced. His dude killed and necro-ed men from 14-30 something. He'd pour acid in their heads, keeping them alive (he was trying to make a zombie), he'd eat parts of his victims and he'd always keep their skulls and genitals.

So, nature or nurture?
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Old 09-17-2008, 12:39 AM   #2
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Re: Serial Killers

Well, I'm currently in Sociology so I'm also studying something a bit similar to this--
I would have to say that I'm leaning more towards nurture.

Although it's true that genes of a parent's personality can be handed down to the child, most of it is because of the environment the person is in. Afterall, the son of a serial killer might not become a serial killer.
Depending on what kind of place the person lives in and who the person lives with depends on the outcome of the person's life. If a person happens to live in an angry home with alot of negative activity and violence going on, it's likely that the person would become a violent person.
Some serial killers get a certain rush when killing people, may it be from killing or from first raping the victim, it might not even have anything to do with a violent behavior.

Sometimes things happen in a person's life that so radically changes how they feel that they might do something drastic such as killing a bunch of people. It is pretty uncertain to say whether it is nature or nurture, but I doubt that a serial-killing type of thinking is something that some people are just born with.
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Old 09-17-2008, 12:53 AM   #3
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Re: Serial Killers

I'm going towards nurture. Like Toshi said, a parents' genes are passed down to a kid and those genes might be something like schizophrenia or bipolar. Still, that doesn't mean a person is gonna go bat shit crazy and kill people. It depends on the events that shape the person, like a traumatic family life, school career, shit like that.
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Old 09-17-2008, 03:56 PM   #4
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Re: Serial Killers

Yeah, but lots of people have shitty family lives, get picked on at school, etc. that don't go out and kill a ton of people too. Honestly, I'm not really sure either makes someone a serial killer.

Because genetics and environment are things one can't control. Which would mean that the person really isn't to blame for what they do, they can't help it. This flies with shit like, I dunno, a predisposition to violent behavior or not valuing human live, I suppose. But not with killing a shit ton of people. That's a choice. And what makes one a serial killer is actually killing people, not just having an urge to kill. So a serial killer isn't born as one, or made into one. He chooses to become one of his own free will.
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Old 09-17-2008, 09:19 PM   #5
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Re: Serial Killers

There's only so much that nature can do when it comes to a personality disorder. Serial killers are normally "psychopaths," or people afflicted with anti-social personality disorder. True, certain genes or biological conditions could make a person more susceptible to this kind of behavior.

Heck, a person could just be incapable of comprehending certain social aspects and the idea of "others being people too." That means that they are socially retarded possibly because of some bio-medical affliction (like mental retardation or downs syndrome).

But other than that? No, a sociopath is MADE and not born. Their raising, their enviornment is what gives people clues as how to behave and how to react with other people. A million and one mental occurrences (problems) could always occur based on an equally large number of happenstances.
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Old 09-18-2008, 11:33 AM   #6
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Re: Serial Killers

Also a majority of them have Schizophrenia
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Old 09-18-2008, 06:09 PM   #7
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Re: Serial Killers

Quote:
Originally Posted by darrylgm View Post
Also a majority of them have Schizophrenia
That isn't true at all. Most of them have anti-social and sadistic personality disorders, but not schizophrenia.
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Old 09-26-2008, 04:35 PM   #8
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Re: Serial Killers

depends someone can become a serial killer if by chance that felt like they wanted to and it was fun and yet sometimes their's cases we're when someone has had a bad life past maybe that whats made them become one who 's knows like i always say depends on thing's and the situation.
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Old 10-06-2008, 06:04 AM   #9
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Re: Serial Killers

I loooove reading about them ;__; I just watched both Dahmer and Ted Bundy (both movies on notorious serial killers).

Nurture or nature... both, definitely both. But mostly nature.

Nature:
- People like Manson, Dahmer and Bundy all tortured animals as a child. They have an innate lack of empathy; they can not feel remorse.
- they naturally are drawn towards violence... they are curious about how an inside of an animal looks; they are curious about arson and setting fire to things. I think one guy said, the 3 top signs that your child has psychopathic tendencies is 1) animal cruelty to larger animals, 2) lighting destructive fires and 3) bedwetting beyond the standard age

Nurture
- Due to their reserved, eccentric nature, they are bullied at school.
- they often hate their parents.

Green = nature
Red = nurture

Quote:
Serial killers have tested out a number of excuses for their behavior. Henry Lee Lucas blamed his upbringing; others like Jeffrey Dahmer say that they were born with a "part" of them missing. Ted Bundy claimed pornography made him do it. Herbert Mullin, Santa Cruz killer of thirteen, blamed the voices in his head that told him it was time to "sing the die song." The ruthless Carl Panzram swore that prison turned him into a monster, while Bobby Joe Long said a motorcycle accident made him hypersexual and eventually a serial lust killer. The most psychopathic, like John Wayne Gacy, turned the blame around and boasted that the victims deserved to die.
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Serial Killer quotes
"I didn't want to hurt them, I only wanted to kill them."
DAVID BERKOWITZ

Q. "What do you think when you see a pretty girl walking down the street?" A. "One side of me says, 'I'd like to talk to her, date her.' The other side of me says, 'I wonder how her head would look on a stick?'"
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Old 10-07-2008, 12:02 AM   #10
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Re: Serial Killers

rather than a question of nature vs nurture it should be which contributes more to their personalities?, there are plenty of events which points to either one being the major contributor, e.g schizophrenia/child abuse/mental disorders (down syndrome etc). generally the manner of the serial killer's crime reflects on past behavior/ treatment. One such matter is the choice in a serial killer's victims. In many cases due to abuse from a mother/father the serial killer will choose victims with similar attributes as the abuser e.g (age,hair colour ,size, facial features). Other cases can be brought on due to being raised in a superior society (kkk, rich supremacy).

I believe that these occurrences only act as a catalyst which triggers the serial killer to commit his actions. there is no single reason why a serial killer kills, but rather a combination of factors that causes him/her to kill. in conclusion both nature and nurture contribute to a serial killer's actions.
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Old 10-23-2008, 03:28 AM   #11
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Re: Serial Killers

I think it has something to do with both. In a majority of cases, serial killers grew/grow up in unhealthy abusive environments. In another number of cases, the people were afflicted with hereditary disorders such as schizophrenia. Also, it is worth noting that many of the people who have gone on murderous rampages have suffered brain damage, meaning because their physical biology changed, their outlook on life has also changed.
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Old 10-26-2008, 04:58 AM   #12
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Re: Serial Killers

What makes you a criminal is the way your parents have raisen you.If they've being ignoring you,you'll end up hating yourself,hurting yourself and others and won't know what is wrong and what is right.Of course a big role plays school as much as the enviroment that surounds you.
Sometimes it can be a disorder you were born with.
Or need can drive you to do things you couldn't do before(something that could happen to anyone with weak personality I think)
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Old 10-26-2008, 05:32 PM   #13
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Re: Serial Killers

Serial killers are not created by neither nature or nurture. They are created from random impulses that pass through the mind and are acted out on a random impulse. We all feel the urge at one time or another to do something we are not normally supposed to do. To them they just made the decision once then they liked where the decision went so they did it again. To us it was the wrong decision but in the end its just a decision a single decision at times that seperates us from them. That is why often many serial killers seem no different from anyone else. They can be just normal every day people but all it takes is one decision that seperates us from them.
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Old 11-11-2008, 10:54 PM   #14
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Re: Serial Killers

I think that both are possibilities. Those impulses can usually be connected to some sereies of childhood events or a family history of violent behavior. A serial killer was interviewed once and he was originally noticed by the Mafia who made him a hitman because he was known to kill people for "pissing him off" in his younger days. Sometimes he "just wouldnt likeem". His father and grandfather too, I believe, were abusive, violent men. Im know he said his father was. A psychlogist was interviewing him in jail. "Ice Man" was his name i think. Well I think that in certain case where someone has suffered a lot of physical and/or mental abuse by someone or situation, I think that the result of those effects can lead them to desire to kill others for whatever reason they claim their desire for that to be.

The frontal lobe of our brains has been linked to a sort of "human conscience". Many killers have a smaller lobe than straight arrow people. Some are born with a naturally smaller "frontal lobe" like kids who enjoy torturing and/or killing animals. Studies have shown that people who work in fields where they deal with dea bodies and other types of things that most ordinary people coulnt handle, have a smaller "frontal lobe" than typical people. I dont think that it said whether they entered that field due to that fact, or if they became like that over the years of dealing with that, but I can see it being either way. I wanna say that the smaller frontal lobe part of the brain was also related to a sort of "fearlessness" too. I remeber the psychologist telling "Ice Man" that others become race car drivers, or firefighters, or like to live on the edge and he didnt have to choose that path. A natural born smaller frontal lobe could make being a serial killer a possibility, especially if that child is brought up in the complete opposite of a nurturing environment. What if it is in that father's DNA to have a smaller than average frontal lobe? It makes the possibilty stronger. Serial killers, in my opinion, can be created by nature, nurting, and/or both. Also,different races and families of people and animals have been naturally and by choice, rasied to have certain temperments and likes and dislikes, fetishes, attractions, etc. U know the Mcloud family that used to always have shootout with the ? family. I cannot remember. U know those famous country families. Well at leas one side of those families carries a gene that makes them act aggresively lose thier temper often, and they have passed it on to their offspring for generations. Someone with that gene can become a serial killer before the next man. Especially if he lives in the woods, during a time period where everyone carried a gun and could legally shoot any trespasser on their property. Nature and Nurtured. I think that that people can also do it for neither reason as well, but I believe that most of the time, there is some family behavior pattern or life events that can be contributed to most of the people that become serial killers.
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Old 11-11-2008, 11:02 PM   #15
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Re: Serial Killers

Although I do believe it's nurture that provides 95% of the human characteristics and personalities, I'd say 5% of it is nature. I haven't been around my Dad in quite some time, and yet I act a lot like him. Everyone, who has been around my Dad long enough, even says so.

However, I've seen that environment is the number one key element when it comes to actions of a human being.
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