Nature vs. nurture. Are serial killers born or created?

Many scientists including Faye Snyder state, “Killers are Made, Not Born”.  According to Pinkus J. (2001) there are three things, which make up a serial killer. According to Pinkus J. (2001) serial killers are created from a combination of child abuse with neurological damage and psychiatric illness. “The three factors interact, as childhood abuse creates enormous anger, while neurologic and psychiatric diseases of the brain damage the capacity to stop urges to violence.” Out of these three factors people are possible born with 2 of them.

As you can see through the hickeys trauma model traumatic events such as child abuse can create homicidal behavior (figure 1). Ressler & Shachtman (1993) stated “similar patterns of severe childhood neglect”. In Pinkus’ (2001) carrier he has found that 94 percent had experienced abuse as children. Thus because child abuse is a environmental factor this support the idea that you are not born a killer.

(Figure 1)

Secondly that not all people with neurological damage and psychiatric illness are serial killers. Only occasionally does these problems arise, some of these problems main psychiatric illness are something your born with however this can also be a environmental factor.

A great case study showing that serial killers are born not created is the case of James Fallon. He is a neuroscientist and found out that he was part of a long linage of killers. When checking the brains of the psychopaths he was studying he found out that he shared the same problem that his orbital cortex looks inactive. However he had never has killed anyone. According to the idea that being of born a killer, James Fallon would be a serial killer.

Overall it seems that there are a few elements of being a serial killer, which a person can be born with however if Pinkus’ three factors (child abuse, neurological damage and psychiatric illness) are not all present you are unlikely to get a serial killer. Thus serial killers are not born evil. As Vronsky P. (2004) says, “unraveling the making of a serial killer is like aligning a Rubik’s cube” it’s very hard to figure out however in time it is possible.