Understanding The Brain Of A Serial Killer

Understanding the Brain of a Serial Killer

Based on the theories discussed in this week’s lecture material, consider the Yates and Gacy cases and answer the following questions:

  • What is the difference between a person who is “antisocial” and a person who is a “psychopath?” Which term would apply to Yates, and which would apply to Gacy?

Most of the theories that have been created to explain violent human behavior center around socialization. Each one of the social theories explains a different social aspect of an offender’s behavior. Some important social theories are:

  • Strain Theory
  • Social Structure Theory
  • Social Class Theory
  • Social Process Theory
  • Social Control Theory
  • The MacDonald Triad Theory
  • Which of the above theories apply to these cases? Remember, by discussing “theories,” we’re trying to determine WHY these people developed into killers.
  • Which (if any) of the theories for serial murder can also be used to explain mass murder? Why do these theories apply to mass murder?
  • What would be the benefit of studying the brain of a serial killer or mass murderer? What are the barriers preventing this kind of research? Have researchers ever been successful in studying a multiple killer’s brain? If so, what did they find?
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