Physical features of serial killers

Physical features of serial killersPhysical features of serial killers
Investigation of the criminal psychology is one of the most contradictory questions in the contemporary psychology and neurology dealing with the criminal science. Since the early years of criminology there has been existing a supposition that the physical features of the potential criminals are unlike the other people: “Cesare Lombroso, the nineteenth-century Italian criminologist, was the first to argue on scientific grounds that criminals are born, not made. Drawing on emerging theories of evolution and genetics, and the contemporary fad for phrenology, he concluded that those with a ‘criminal mind’ could be identified by deformations of their skulls” (Abbot, 2001, p. 296). It should be noted that since then the criminal psychologists and neurologists held a number of studies in order to approve or disapprove such a supposition. This essay would examine the article provided by Alison Abbot, the reasons and methodology she provided in order, whether it is true or not.

Examination of the Hypothesis of the Article
From the very beginning the author focused the reader’s attention on the fact that the criminals (in particular serial killers) are unlike the other people. They are actually introduced as people, that have another psychic structure of the mind and physical aspect plays there very significant role. The author tries to examine connection between the mental and physical disorder: “Today, many psychiatrists accept that some people who fall foul of the criminal justice system suffer from a condition —psychopathy — that is as much an illness as, for example, schizophrenia. Environmental factors may help to determine whether this ‘illness’ is expressed in the form of violent, criminal behavior, but a growing number of experts argue that the underlying condition is biological” (Abbot, 2001, p. 296). The hypothesis of the article is to find scientifically based evidence to prove that mental disorder of the serial killers and criminals in general have direct connection with the physical features. The author thoroughly examined this theme within her article and used different methods to prove

Description of the Participants, Materials, Type of Design and Methods
Speaking about the participants of the research it would be essential to note that the author did not make direct division of criminals and serial killers. Hence it should be noted that killers and murders were the main participants of her investigation. The same time she provided close connection between the psychiatric science and criminal investigations. According to the data Abbot provided three quarters of the prison population correspond to the APD diagnosis: “An estimated three-quarters of prison populations fulfill the criteria for APD, and a quarter or more may exceed a PCL-R score of 30, the cut-off for true psychopathy” (Abbot, 2001).

The author used different methods to fulfill her research. The qualitative and quantitative methods alongside with the peer review of the other researches works became the basis of her investigation. It is essential that such a theme as Physical features of serial killers needs various issues of data collection that would help to illustrate the statistical data from different point of view. Among the suggested ones there are could be observed:

- Using available information. Academic literature peer review would help to make a historical observation of the set problem. How it was related to by the governmental forces and what were the results.

- Observing. Observation of statistical data on governmental web sites and forums, alongside different statistical data provided on the criminal justice archives. Would provide evident statistics which either prove or confute the local data and would help to provide comparative analysis in different areas.
The suggested research design alongside with the applied methods made the bases of the research, held by the authors. As the core materials she used different statistical information and investigations that date back to the different stages of the question investigation. The author reviewed the problem from the different sides and this let the reader to get the full information about the observed case. The structural division of the article introduce various ideas upon the discussed question and make the article easy readable and well structured. Unfortunately the investigation of the problem lacks personal research of the author. Her article looks like the summary of a number previously made researches. She did not get involved personally into the investigation of the question. This leaves the feeling of unfinished research. Hence the author brilliantly used the two main methods she preferred as the core research tools in her investigation and perfectly revealed the discussed subject expressing personal vision on the question and illustrating it with the statistical material alongside with the previously made investigations. The author made a huge stress of the importance of this question to the contemporary criminal science all over the world.

Observation of the Research Results

Using previously described methods the author proved the hypothesis and came to the conclusion that the physical features of the criminals have close connection with their mental disorder: “As it is clear that brain dysfunction can cause abnormal social behaviour, it is important for scientists to address the issue. The human mind is complex and refined — but scientists should not be afraid to think big” (Abbot, 2001). It should be noted that the author sees huge potential for the development of the discussed themes and provides numerous proves that this question is under the precise attention of the scientific community, as they understand how important it is for the social order: “round four times as many psychopaths commit violence on release from jail as those simply diagnosed as having APD; and for psychopaths, the risk of reoffending is independent of the environment into which they return” (Abbot, 2001). It should be noted that the author coming to this conclusion also viewed the case from the historical perspective and consider that this decision has a huge impact on the development of criminal neurology and psychology. Understanding the importance of this question the researchers should provide collaborative practice in order to archive the desired results. It should be noted that the whole investigation from the very beginning up to the end is very clear and easy readable.


In the end I would like to return to the very beginning and to focus attention on the importance e of the discussed question. For more than a century criminal justice system is trying to find out how to prevent the serial killing, murders and other crimes. Psychology, neurology and other sciences made a significant contribution to the development of the criminal science and provide effective preventive measures for the potential threat. Understanding of the role which has a close connection between the physical features for example scull structure) with the mental disorders and criminal behavior would help to develop innovatively new preventive measures. But the same time it should be taken into consideration that we are working wit5h the humans and should not forget about such things as ethics and privacy. Understanding of such question could significantly ease the life of contemporary society. This article does not include huge number of different terms and could be easily read even by those who are unfamiliar with the question. It also should be noted that the author perfectly showed the discussed question and explained the importance of the question to the criminal justice system, alongside with the peer review of the different investigation the author also expressed personal vision, illustrating the research with a number of the perfect examples, which also provided statistical data.


Abbot A. (15 March, 2001). Into the mind of a killer. Nature, Vol. 410

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