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Why serial killers are true psychopaths

Serial killers could care less who they kill.
Serial killers could care less who they kill.
Photo by Getty Images/Getty Images

The mind of a serial killer is something many people want to understand. After all, how can they kill over and over again and do such terrible things to people? The fact is, that they Are psychopaths but not the kind shown on TV shows like Criminal Minds.

The truth is that serial killers are the True psychopaths who have no feelings and could care less who or how they kill, but how did they get that way? In this article we will explore the development of a true psychopath, as well as look at the different types of psychopaths who actually do have feelings.

A blooming psychopath

The early life of a serial killer starts off troubled. Serial killers may lack proper interpersonal skills which means they have a hard time interacting with others, but some will learn to manipulate and adapt if it gets them what they want. Some have been shunned by their peers, abused as children or were witnesses to violence at an early age; but how did they become psychopaths?

Psychopathy starts with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) which is a personality disorder which affects a person's thoughts, emotions, impulse control and interpersonal relationships and skills (Personality Disorders, 2014). Symptoms of ASPD begin in childhood and include a history of cruelty to animals, fire setting, anger and rebellion and legal trouble (Personality Disorders, 2014). Once a person is diagnosed with this disorder, the symptoms include impulsiveness, irritability, deceitfulness, failure to consider consequences for their behavior, lack of empathy and a major disregard for the law (Personality Disorders, 2014). Although ASPD is like psychopathy, all those with with ASPD are not psychopaths, so what is a psychopath?

In 1993 Robert Hare, a leading expert on Psychopaths describes them as social predators who are manipulative, ruthless, charming and who selfishly take without empathy or conscience (Bartol & Bartol, 2008). Hare describes 3 different types of psychopaths; a secondary psychopath who is neurotic and anger driven, the dis-social psychopath who shows aggressive antisocial behavior learned from their environment, and the primary true psychopath who is the calm cool serial killer (Bartol & Bartol, 2008). The true psychopath is not the neurotic or the emotionally disturbed killer seen on many TV show's like CSI and Criminal Minds; but what is a true psychopath?

A true psychopath according to Hare is not normally outwardly explosive, destructive or violent, but is instead more outgoing and charming and often possesses above average communication skills (Bartol & Bartol, 2008). The true psychopath is the person who shows no emotions because to them, they have none. This complete lack of emotions allows these individuals to coolly and calmly calculate their next plan of attack without the added attention emotions would create before, during and after their crimes. To help you understand this better, we will discuss how these individuals become emotionless in a later article.

When it comes to serial killers, we can only begin to describe some of their characteristics in order to learn more about them. While this subject is interesting, it is also very disturbing to think that a person has no feelings and would rather feed their sick fantasies than live a normal life. Stay tuned for a thorough discussion on sexual predators and serial killers.

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Bartol C., Bartol, A. (2008). Criminal behavior: a psycho social approach Pearson Education

Inc. New Jersey

Personality Disorders (2014). Personality disorders AllPsych Online. Retrieved


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