In order to qualify as a serial killer, you have to murder a least three different people in different instances. (This is not a challenge.) Killers can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but mostly, they’re caucasian, adult males. Forensic psychiatrist Dr. Helen Morrison has been studying these highly irregular social variants — 135 killers to be exact — and has come to several conclusions as to why killers not only kill, but feel a disconnect to their victims that allows them to kill again.
Her primary conclusion is that many of these serial killers have an extra chromosome. For instance, Bobby Joe Long — who murdered at least 10 women — has an extra X chromosome. The abnormality led to the growth of breasts during puberty, which then led to anger and embarrassment. Richard Speck is another killer who suffered from the abnormality, but he had an extra Y chromosome. Dr. Morrison believes that this genetic abnormality combines with a sense of detachment that is gained during early stages of growth — these factors ultimately result in the mind state of a killer.
Professor Jim Fallon is a neuroscientist who has been using brain imaging to study killers, and he has some theories that add to Dr. Morrison’s research. Prof. Fallon believes that “low activity” in the brain’s frontal lobes results in sociopathic behavior, as well as the inability to control rage impulses. But, these genetic instances alone are not enough to make someone want to kill. (Prof. Fallon actually has all the genetic markers for a serial killer.) In order for these factors to gain control of a human being, said subject must experience some sort of trauma — the trauma is essentially a “trigger.”
So, while there are markers that can account for a serial killer’s behavior, it ultimately comes down to some sort of traumatic moment that officially puts those genetic abnormalities in high gear. This also may mean that many of us may be dormant serial killers. So, uh, try not to have anything crazy happen to you. Thanks.