Essay on The Biology of a Serial Killer

Essay on The Biology of a Serial Killer

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The year is 1967 and Theodore Bundy, an average American college student has fallen in love with Stephanie, a dark haired co-ed of the same state university. He convinces her to go on a few dates, but she quickly loses interest, later citing his lack of ambition. The rejection on his heels, Bundy shifts gears and spends the next six years of his life transforming himself into the law student of her dreams. When they meet again Bundy holds the upper hand and Stephanie falls in love. A short time after the small wedding ceremony Bundy abandons Stephanie during a ski vacation and she never hears from him again.(2)

In the context of this short historical blip from the life of America's most "normal" serial killer the ensuing killing and mutilation spree may be explained in any number of ways. Biologically we could look for an imbalance in neurotransmitter firing or an oversized development in the frontal lobe of his brain. Sociologically we could point to society's need to produce deviants in order to see itself more clearly. A psychoanalyst might notice that Stephanie and most of his victims bore a strange resemblance to Bundy's mother, of whose identity he was deceived until late in adolescence.

Each of these explanations provides its own compelling paradigm for looking at 'abnormal' behavior, then leaves great gaps in the understanding of our own 'normally' irregular behavior. We will forever be attracted to deviance models as a way of examining that which we are not, but 'normal' human behavior is also sporadic. More vigorous models are needed to take in the inconsistency, pick out the places where patterns begin to emerge, and go there to seek a more profound summary of observations.

With the help of these models ...


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... York: Springer, 1997.

5) Bak, P.; Paczuski, M. "Mass Extinctions vs. Uniformitarianism in Biological Evolution." Physics of Biological Systems. New York: Springer, 1997.

6) Flyvbjerg, H.; Bak, P.; Jensen, M.H.; Sneppen, K. "A Self-Organized Critical Model for Evolution." Modelling the Dynamics of Biological Systems. New York: Springer, 1995.

7) Class notes. Bryn Mawr College. Biology 202, Professor Grobstein.

Web References:

8)Introduction to Chaos Theory, short but easy to understand
http://www.duke.edu/~mjd/chaos/chaos.html

9)Chaos Theory, very good and comprehensive
http://www.wfu.edu/%7epetrejh4/chaosind.htm

10)Second Law of Thermodynamics, for non scientists, very easy to use
http://www.entropysimple.com/

11)Variability in Brain Function and Behavior, interesting article by our prof
http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/bb/EncyHumBehav.html

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