Nature Vs. Nurture: Inside the Serial KillerThe question of whether or not man is predetermined at birth to lead a life of crime is a question that has been debated for decades. Are serial killers born with the predisposition to become killers? Do the traits of a serial killer become a part of them because of a traumatic childhood? While some think that all babies are born inherently good, and develop either for better or for worse, others believe that it is impossible for society to have so much corruption unless there are some “bad seeds” roaming the streets. If serial killers are made and not born, we can do little to prevent them. However the odds that they are born a serial killer are very slim considering the idea that many serial killers have abusive childhoods. Those who have a predisposition of mental disorders from family history though, have a higher tendency to become serial killers if their parents or guardians raise them poorly or if they have a traumatic experience in their childhood.Nature and nurture come into play strongly during one's childhood, the time when people endure many major behavioral and personality developments. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines nature as "the genetically controlled qualities of an organism" ("Nature," def. 8). While nature can influence the disorders that a person has and the physical state they live in, nurture, "the sum of the environmental factors influencing the behavior and traits expressed by an organism," influences the expression of one's physical traits ("Nurture," def. 3).The personality therefore, does not result from a single gene, be it a kindness gene, or a killer gene, but results in a combination of genetic predispositions, combined with a person's upbringing.A classic example of a serial killer, Ted Bundy's disturbing childhood demonstrates the importance of an ideal childhood and that having a problematic childhood may contribute more than genetics towards countless murders. As a child, Bundy's mother, Eleanor Louise Cowell,
Serial Killers: Nature Vs. Nurture Essay
Serial Killers: Nature vs. Nurture
The question of whether or not man is predetermined at birth to lead a life of crime is a question that has been debated for decades. Are serial killers born with the lust for murder, or are their desires developed through years of abuse and torment? Many believe it is impossible for an innocent child to be born with the capability to commit a horrible act such as murder. But at the same time, how could we have corrupted society so much as to turn an innocent child into a homicidal maniac? Forensic psychologists have picked apart the minds of serial killers to find an answer as to what forces them to commit such perverse acts. Their ultimate goal is to learn how to catch a serial killer before he commits his first crime.
In many cases, serial killers began their lives as remotely normal human beings. Most, however, have detectable characteristics of murderers before they hit puberty. Otis O’toole, for example, started a neighbourhood fire when he was six. George Adorno was even younger when he first displayed his pyromaniac tendencies by setting fire to his own sister when he was four. Along with pyromaniac behavior, other often-cited warning signs are enuresis (bed-wetting) and cruelty toward animals. Often, serial murderers are abused physically, psychologically, and sexually as children, sometimes from a stranger, but in most cases from a trusted family member or friend. Typically, they come from broken families, usually abandoned by their fathers and raised by domineering mothers, with histories of alcoholism.
William March coined the term ‘bad seed’ in reference to serial killings. Researchers in the 1960’s pursued men with “XYY syndrome”, or a surplus male chromosome. Studies show that males with an extra chromosome are generally more aggressive, violent, and it is statistically proven that men with this extra ‘maleness’ have a far greater tendency towards criminal...
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