Campus Life

What Makes a Serial Killer?

There are many factors that can contribute to someone becoming a serial killer, and Dr. Natalie Johnson's criminal profiling class is exploring several of those. 

They started with learning about a biological predisposition a person may have to be a serial killer and moved into sociological influences, such as childhood abuse, that could impact a person. 

Childhood abuse causes a flood of cortisol in the brain, which can literally shrink the brain, leaving the area that controls impulsivity and empathy damaged. It can, though not in all cases, lead to a disregard and violation of rights for another person. 

Learning about what is believed to lead a person to become a serial killer doesn't excuse their behavior, but it can help prevent others from taking the same path. Much of the discussion centered around Richard "The Iceman" Kuklinski, a notorious professional assassin, killing more than 200 men based on his own estimate. 

So what makes a serial killer? 

There's no cookie cutter answer, but the students in this class are a little closer to understanding. 

posted 10/14/2016 in Academics



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