Ch 4 Notes Crim 260 Serial Killers

Topics: Sociology, Crime, Criminology Pages: 5 (1176 words) Published: July 1, 2012
Chapter 4
Social Construction of Serial Murder


After reading this chapter, students should be able:

1. To evaluate sociological theories as they pertain to violent behavior.

2. To understand the role of family and maladaptive childhood behaviors that may portend adult criminality, especially violence.

3. To examine the incidence of school shootings by juveniles compared to adults.

4. To examine the Myers and Kirby typologies of juvenile serial killers.

5. To explore the etiology of serial murder as it relates to Hickey’s Trauma- Control Model.

6. To review the case studies as they relate to the process of becoming a serial murderer.

7. To understand the facilitators that influence the construction of serial murderers.


ATTRIBUTION OF BLAME: A process whereby victims are faulted for bringing maltreatment on themselves, or extraordinary circumstances are invoked as justification for questionable conduct. (p. 112)

ATTRIBUTIONAL BIAS: Interpreting ambiguous or neutral peer actions as being hostile and aggressive. (p. 129)

COGNITIVE DISSONANCE: In Labeling Theory, a state in which a person feels the stress and anxiety of being labeled, and thus feels the need to right the wrongs and restore balance. (p.117)

CONTAINMENTS: Characteristics such as a positive self-image; ego strength; high frustration tolerance; goal orientation; a sense of belongingness; consistent moral front; reinforcement of norms, goals, and values; effective supervision; discipline, and a meaningful social role that provide isolation or insulation from criminal influences. (p.114)

DEHUMANIZATION: A process of ridding the other of the benefit of humanity leading to the ultimate step of removing the other person’s opportunity to live. (p.113)

EGO-DYSTONIC HOMICIDE: An altered state of consciousness whereby the individual is faced with a psychologically unresolvable conflict, which then results in a split between the psychic structure of the personality and the rest of the personality. (p.138)

MACDONALD TRIAD: A triad of maladaptive behaviors that include animal cruelty, fire-setting, and enuresis. (p.123)

MEPHISTO SYNDROME: A syndrome found in those who exhibit a combination of dissociation and psychopathy. (p.138)

NEUTRALIZATION THEORY: Theory that focuses on the neutralization of personal values and attitudes as an offender drifts between conventional behavior and illegitimate behavior. (p.112)

PRIMARY DEVIANCE: In Labeling Theory, the original deviant act in the developmental process of criminality. (p.116)

SOCIAL CLASS THEORY: Theory that focuses on status aspirations to explain criminal behavior. (p.109)

SOCIAL PROCESS THEORY: Theory that focuses on the socialization process which includes a host of sociopsychological interactions by the offender with institutions and social organizations. (p.110)

SOCIAL STRUCTURE THEORY: Theory that focuses on individuals’ socioeconomic standing, suggesting that poor people commit more crimes because they are stifled in their quest for financial or social success. (p.107)

TRAUMATIZATIONS: In the Trauma-Control Model, destabilizing events that occur in the lives of serial offenders. (p.135)


Understanding Murder
Social Structure Theory
Social Class Theory
Social Process Theory
Neutralization Theory
Social Control Theory
Labeling Theory
Juvenile Mass Murderers and Serial Killers
School Shooters
Juvenile Serial Killers
The Myers Studies
The Kirby Study
The MacDonald Triad
Family Dynamics and the MacDonald Triad
Animal Cruelty
Etiology of Serial Killing
Trauma-Control Model of the Serial Killer
Observations of a Male Serial Murderer
Cyclical Nature of Serial Killing


Social structure theories focus on individuals’ socioeconomic standing,...
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