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EPQ - What is the main motive of a serial killer, and are th

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cherise harrison

on 22 April 2015

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Transcript of EPQ - What is the main motive of a serial killer, and are th

EPQ - What is the main motive of a serial killer, and are they born to be a killer?
The Beginning and Difficulties I had.
When I started to actually write my essay I found it quite difficult to find a good structure and this was something that my supervisor and I discussed. I had my research but it was just a matter of being able to structure it in a way that would make the essay flow. For the first part of my essay I included general information about the minds and motives of serial killers and the general definition of what a serial killer is. Generally, I didn't have many problems surrounding the start of my essay, there were just a few little things that I had to change in order to make the essay flow.
Whether a serial killer is born to kill.
From the research I collected, I found that whether or not a person is a serial killer depends on both genetics and environmental factors, ultimately this means that the person would have to have elements of both nature and nurture in order for the killer gene to be triggered. The research that I found suggested to me that a serial killer can not become a serial killer without having the genes and being influenced by their environment. Potentially, any individual could have the genes to be a serial killer, however, in order to actually be likely of becoming a killer, they would need the environmental factors to trigger it.
Why I chose this as my topic.
I decided upon this topic as it was something that I thought would be interesting and different. I have always been interested in watching documentaries on real life crimes and how they took place and so therefore, this was something that i thought would be interesting to do research into. Exploring how the mind of a serial killer works was something that I found quite exciting because I found things that I was not expecting.
For my research, I gathered information on different case studies which I could then apply to the rest of my project. I found case studies on many notorious serial killers but my main focuses were on Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy and John Gacy. I had to do a lot of research into these different serial killers so that my knowledge was widened. I also did research which looked into diffeerent theories such as Freud's theory of whether or not aggression will affect the mind of a serial killer, and this was something that was extremely interesting to look into because it showed me how the minds of a killer can work due to the chemical influences in their brain.
The midpoint and nearing the end - any other problems.
During the middle of my essay I was finding it slightly difficult to find out a lot of information about each of the motives. This made the process difficult because I couldn't continue without having all of the information that I needed so therefore I had to carry out a bit more research. I also found that my case studies perhaps weren't as detailed as they could have been and so I did more research. I find it hard to find different types of resources such as books and documentaries and I was only able to find one documentary. However, this documentary was very useful because it contained a lot of information about Jeffrey Dahmer which was one of my main case studies and so this significantly helped out my research and made my essay flow a lot better.
What I found.
I found from my research that the main motive for a serial killer is enjoyment (lust, thrill, power). This may be because serial killers feel a sense of enjoyment out of the kill that they make. The number of murders recorded that were based on enjoyment in the US was 1335 which is extortionately high. Surprisingly, financial gain was also high on the list of rated motives. This was surprisingly higher than anger which may have been thought to have been ranked higher and it had a total number of 917. The third ranked was defined as 'multiple motives' meaning that the killer may have committed their crimes for for more than one said reason. Anger came in at number 4, which to me was quite surprising as I thought that anger would have been in the top 2.
I had to do research which looked into the real life numbers and statistics. This was quite hard to find, but eventually I managed to find a very useful resource which provided me with a lot of statistics such as the main motives of a serial killer and how the amount of serial killers has developed over time. When I came across this bit of research, it made the process a lot easier because I had an extended knowledge of what I was going to talk about in terms of the motives.
Case Studies.
The main case studies that I looked at throughout my project were Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Albert De Salvo and John Gacy. Jeffrey Dahmer, from 1978 to 1991, was an American serial killer and sex offender, who committed the rape, murder and dismemberment of 17 men and boys. He murdered not in anger, revenge, or financial enrichment but on impulse and desire.

Ted Bundy was a serial killer from the Pacific Northwest who murdered at least thirty women, and after a rather chaotic flight across the country, was executed in Florida by the electric chair in 1989. Bundy was extremely good at what he did, and so therefore many attempts to track him down were largely diminished.

Albert De Salvo made his first kill in June 1962, and left people wondering who could have been capable of such a horrific crime. Unsurprisingly, all of De Salvos victims were women, conforming to the suggested stereotype that women are the typical victims of a serial killer.

John Gacy was a bright clever boy whilst he was growing up. He was kind, polite and showed no signs of a killer instinct. Then, around the age of 11 he suffered a blow to the head. The accident caused a blood clot in his brain that was only discovered when Gacy turned 16. Until age 16 when he was treated with medication, he suffered from blackouts that were caused by the clot.
What I finally concluded from all of my research is that a serial killer will not become a murderer without the genes and the environmental factors, because the two work together in order to trigger the violent and aggressive behaviour, so without them both, the chances of the individual becoming a serial killer is small.

Also, I have made the conclusions that in terms of the most popular motives of a serial killer, lust appears to be the most common, because the serial killer gets a significant thrill out of taking the life of another person.
What I have learnt from my EPQ.
From my EPQ, i have learnt how to manage my time efficiently in order to get the tasks completed. I have also learned new skills in terms of how to write in a more responsive way which shows more of my understanding and knowledge of exactly what it is I am discussing.
What advice I would give to someone doing an EPQ.
For someone doing the EPQ I would advise them to choose a topic which they know will keep them interested throughout the whole process. This is because the project is quite time consuming and so will take a lot of your time and commitment. An also, if you choose a topic which really interests you then you will enjoy doing the project more, which is what I found when I carried out my project. Also i advise that you make sure that you manage you r time effectively so that you can get everything done on time.
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