Biology contributes to killers. As people in today’s society, we are constantly being bombarded with the crazy actions that mankind is capable of. We watch the news and hear about murders, or even read a book about a mysterious killer. As we go through these pieces of reality, one can’t help but be struck by the thought–what causes a person to act so violently? There have been many studies done to try and find an answer. For a crime such as serial killing, there are two thoughts.
The first idea is that serial killing is caused by an abnormality in the frontal lobe of the brain. The second idea is that serial killers are bred by circumstance which means they have certain genes also known as the negative gene that makes them prone to becoming a killer. Ted Bundy was a serial killer who had confessed to more than 30 killings but many people believe that the number was actually closer to 100 (Biography.
For the most part, Ted Bundy had a somewhat normal besides a few bumps in the road. Theodore Robert Cowell more commonly known as Ted Bundy was born on November 24th, 1946 to Eleanor Louise Cowell (The Predator, n.
d.). Because Ted was born out of wedlock, his mother had her parents act like they were Ted’s biological parents. Eleanor Cowell then acted as if she were Ted’s sister. However, there are speculations that Ted was conceived out of an incestuous relationship between Eleanor and her father (The Predator, n.d.). These speculations have never been proven though. When Ted was about four years old, his “sister”, Eleanor and him moved to Washington State where Eleanor married Johnnie Bundy. Ted Bundy had a fairly close relationship to his grandfather/”father” even though the grandfather suffered from some anger issues. However, there were not any forms of abuse ever reported (The Predator, n.d.). As a teenager, Bundy began spying on women in his neighborhood as well as breaking in to people’s homes in order to acquire valuables (The Ted Bundy Website, n.d.).
In 1966, while attending the University of Washington, Bundy met a woman by the name of Stephanie Brooks and he fell in love with her but their love was not meant to be. In 1968, Stephanie and Ted broke up and consequently, many if not all of Bundy’s victims resembled Stephanie Brooks (The Predator, n.d.). In 1969, while Ted was in the state of Vermont (where he was born) he found that whom he thought was his sister for so many years was actually his mother (The Predator, n.d.). For most people, the realization of this would probably destroy them mentally, but for Bundy it seemed to have little to no effect (The Predator, n.d.).
Around 1974 is when Bundy began slaying innocent women and it was not until 1978 when he was finally arrested for the last time (Crimemuseum.com, 2013). In order to lure his victims in, he would pretend to be injured when a female was passing by and when they came to aide him, he would smash them over the head with a metal pipe or crowbar (Crimemuesum.com, 2013). Bundy was considered to be a sexual deviate as well as a necrophiliac (The Ted Bundy Website, n.d.). Bundy often left his victims in his residence until they started to petrify and he was no longer able to handle the smell while having sexual intercourse with them.
Psychopathic individuals display a multitude of behaviors that make up this disorder and can sometimes be readily detected unless the individual is purposely masking these traits. The psychopathic individual is normally incapable of feeling any guilt, remorse or empathy for their anti-social behaviors. They are manipulative with others to further their own goals or desires. These individuals do know the difference between right and wrong but feel that they are exempt from these judgments. They are also very poor in such emotions as love and caring (Schmalleger, 2012).
People with psychopathic behaviors are very egocentric and narcissistic because they are unwilling to give up their comfort for the benefit of others, their needs always come first. They generally don’t learn from past experiences and tend to repeat the same failed ideas. They have difficulty in following a life plan like most normal people do. Psychopaths don’t accept that there are or should be consequences for their anti-social behaviors (Schmalleger, 2012). Many psychopaths have trouble holding down steady employment as they are prone to outbursts of anger at their worksite with little provocation. They have trouble with interpersonal relationships or grasping team concepts. This leads typically to unsteady finances and difficulty finding new jobs. Romantic relationships are especially difficult to maintain if possible at all.
They are very good at seeming to be charming and sincere at times. They learn that their own personalities are lacking so they mimic the personalities of those around them to appear normal and to achieve their desires. One of the associated problems with psychopaths is they believe that they can outwit law enforcement officials and will not be caught by them. This may explain one reason why these individuals commit serial crimes (Schmalleger, 2012). Psychopaths do not have delusions or hear voices others don’t hear. They live in the real world and don’t talk to imaginary persons. Even modern day advancements in these disorders have not produced methods to successfully treat psychopaths. In fact the treatments meant to help them deal with this disorder can empower them and many have fooled the medical profession that they are indeed making progress toward recovery when in reality they have not changed at all (National Institute of health, 2011).
New research has indicated that there may be methods of identifying traits in pre-adolescent youth that may be treatable before they are adults. The hope is that if these are diagnosed early before adulthood, they can prevent the anti-social behaviors from occurring. Once a psychopathic person reaches adulthood treatments are of little or no use. One study suggests that these behaviors are inherited and developed though a child’s environment. The study found that about 67% of those youths studied inherited traits such as extreme callousness and emotional instability and the environment they grow up in can affect how they deal with these problems (National Institute of health, 2011). Ted Bundy demonstrated various symptoms related to the biological theory of psychology in criminology. Biological theory in crime causation focuses on the human body, evolutionary factors, hormones, inherited genes, and the way the brain has developed (Ministry of Justice, 2009).
The psychological issues that Ted Bundy possessed are conditioning, psychopath, antisocial personality disorder, and sublimation. The principle of conditioning for Ted Bundy was the repetition of deadly assaults on young women. The repetition of murders allowed Ted Bundy to perfect his crimes. Psychopath principle consists of someone who has a personality disorder, which transforms into another disorder called anti-social disorder. When Bundy and Stephanie Brooks separated, Bundy was emotionally and mentally destroyed. Anti-social personality disorder is the patterns of disregard for others. Bundy was very antisocial as a child, which later manifested into a sociopath. The principle of sublimation is the process of consciousness on symbolic substitute for another (Schmalleger, 2012 p. 129).
Ted Bundy fantasized about young women, and would continue to have sexual intercourse with the deceased corps until the stench was no longer tolerable. In conclusion, serial killers are biologically different then regular people. They have lower brain functions and are genetically prone to becoming a serial killer. The identifiable related contributors to the biological theory of criminology entail low serotonin, neurological defects, malnutrition, anti-social behavior, and environmental contributors. Serial killers tend to act upon violent actions due to their abnormal brain waves in their frontal lobe and prefrontal cortex. As everyone can see from this research, serial killers kill not because of their upbringing, but because of biology. This is why they are known by many experts as biological disasters.
Biography.com. (2013). Ted Bundy. Retrieved from
The Predator. (n.d.). The Predator: Ted Bundy. Retrieved from
The Ted Bundy Website. (n.d.). Bundy’s Childhood. Retrieved from
http://students.english.ilstu.edu/smdare/bundy/tedschildhood.html Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3113684/
Schmalleger, F. (2012). Criminology (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Prentice Hall.