The Mind of a Psychopath – Biological Factors
Brain & Behavior
Famous serial killers like Ed Gein and Ted Bundy have turned what we only believed to be true in movies and books, into a reality. Ed Gein, an American serial killer and body snatcher, took corpses from local graveyards and fashioned trophies and keepsakes from their bones and skin. After police found body parts in his house in 1957, Gein confessed to killing two women. Nearly 14 years later, Ted Bundy, another American serial killer, committed rape, kidnap, and necrophilia, killing numerous young women and girls during the 1970s. There have been more recent cases of such unspeakable violence such as last year’s Aurora shootings. Inside a Colorado movie theater, a gunman, dressed in tactical clothing, set off tear gas and shot into the audience with multiple firearms, killing 12 people and injuring 58 others. Just a month ago, moments after killing his own mother, a young man fatally shot 20 children and 6 adult staff members at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in the town of Newtown, Connecticut. Psychopaths are people suffering from a chronic mental disorder with abnormal or violent social behavior. Such people have devastating effects on our society, particularly through the most unimaginable crime. It is estimated that the prevalence of psychopathy is approximately 1% in the general population, but 15–25% in the USA adult prison population. Compared to prisoners without psychopathy, psychopathic prisoners have significantly higher rates of violent crime and recidivism (Koenigs, 2012). I can’t help but wonder what it is that acts as the driving force to lead someone to commit such unthinkable behavior. It’s important to understand the differences in psychopaths so we can begin to pinpoint the traits of a psychopath and make sense as to why such criminal behavior can be committed, most importantly psychopaths can teach us a lot about the nature of morality. “Inside the Mind...
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