Unit III Research Proposal
Ashley Ashley
Columbia Southern University
ENG 1302, English Composition II
1 December 2022
Undoubtedly, a person’s likelihood of turning into a serial killer may rise due to genetic features and environmental factors. Investigations into serial killers are further complicated because many lead normal lives and hide behind very commonplace lifestyles, making it more challenging to locate them. Professionals and the general public have a lot of curiosity, which calls for more study and rigorous analysis. Thus, environment, trauma, personality, and inheritance all work together to determine serial killer behavior. Therefore, generalizing the cause of criminal behavior would be conceited and incorrect (Entail, 2021). However, numerous in-depth investigations have revealed a connection between childhood maltreatment, psychological trauma, family issues, and serial killing. The article has stressed that not all traumatized and mistreated children go on to conduct serial crimes, and not all serial killers were abused as kids. The ideas of nature and nurture are at the heart of most psychiatric problems. This highlights the importance of the relationship between genes and their environment. Understanding the mind is a significant focus in psychology, enabling the study to add to the meager body of knowledge about the mind. The ideas of nature and nurture are at the heart of most psychiatric problems. This highlights the importance of the relationship between genes and their environment.
The Controversy
Nature vs nurture is a controversial, age-old issue that has proponents on both sides. According to some professionals, if you have a loving family environment as a child, you are predestined to be decent. However, this isn’t always the case. Ted Bundy is an immediate illustration. He grew up in a warm family, exactly like Jeffrey Dahmer. But in both cases, something went wrong. What if a child has loving parents, but their environment makes them a monster because they must struggle to survive? The parent’s level of love would thus be irrelevant. If frequent gunshots are in the background, the child might pick up lessons from the streets. Genetics also have an impact. Consider an alcoholic or addict. It is regarded as an inherited condition by many professionals. It is not investable for a child of an alcoholic to pick up the traits. It’s challenging to perceive the situation in such stark contrast. The factors that jointly influence serial killer behavior are thus heredity, environment, trauma, and personality. Thus, “nature” refers to a person’s biologically inherited traits and skills, some of which may come into play as they age. Contrarily, the various environmental influences a person is subjected to from birth until death are referred to as nurture.
Pro side of the Controversy
Nearly all serial killers did have traumatic childhoods. However, that is not the reason they turned into serial killers. The opposing position is that a person’s nature determines whether or not they become a killer. A difficult question is whether someone is born with “killer genes” or whether nurture matters more. Naturally, each person is born with unique genes that make them who they are, yet many contend that genetic variations do not result in psychopaths. Although it’s hard to believe that some people are just born murderers and insane, many serial killers suffer from mental disorders that various factors can bring on.
From a loving family, Joanna Dennehey came. But she killed without feeling guilty. She delighted in every moment of her heinous rampage. She barely exhibited emotion as she raised the blade and sank it into her last victim. She advised doing more since John Rogers, who was bleeding from his wounds and was on the verge of death, appeared to be bleeding. Throughout a 14-day killing spree, Dennehey killed three individuals and critically injured two others (Pettigrew, 2020).
Con side of the Controversy
Whether they can pinpoint a serial killer to a brain disorder or a particular gene that may be inherited is a hotly contested topic in the scientific world. Science has a ton of solid information to back up its many theories about what qualifies as a serial killer. Nevertheless, countless different factors need to be considered. A person is more prone to act aggressively if they carry a particular variant of the monoamine-oxidase-A gene and grow up in a hostile environment. Children that are predisposed to genetically motivated aggression do not always grow up to be criminals. To mold a person, however, external factors like difficult childhood experiences work with DNA (Hernandez et al., 2015). Psychological abuse was associated with more rape/lust and financial gain typologies. Crimes involving psychological abuse of children frequently involved torture. A quick execution, binding the victim, and leaving the body at the scene of the crime, on the other hand, were all linked to rape/lust typology and physical childhood abuse. Numerous research over the years have revealed a link between childhood abuse and serial killings (Davies, 2022)
During the years 1976–1976, David Berkowitz terrorized New York City. Although his reign of terror was brief, his reputation endures. Berkowitz asserted that the neighbor’s dog, controlled by demons who instructed him to kill, had ordered him to do his crimes. He committed crimes without psychosexual overtones, which set them apart from Dahmer, Gein, and Bundy. Berkowitz, however, used a. 44-caliber revolver to shoot his victims. Initially confessing to all 6, including injuring four others, he recanted three of the killings and insisted that the other three were carried out by followers of his satanic cult (Brody, 2016).
Tentative Thesis Statement
The motivation behind a serial killer’s actions cannot be explained by genetics or upbringing alone, but a combination of the two may be able to. Beyond a few shared traits, serial killers are unique people shaped by their extraordinary experiences, circumstances, and mindsets.
Brody, P. (2016).  Son of Sam: A Biography of David Berkowitz (Vol. 1). BookCaps Study Guides.
Entail, W. D. A. S. K. (2021). Are Serial Killers Born or Made?.
Davies, N. (2022, August 24). From abused child to serial killer: Investigating nature vs nurture in methods of murder. Psychiatry Advisor. Retrieved November 23, 2022, from
Hernandez, J., Highsmith, J., Madrigal, S., & Mercado, M. (2015). Nature (MAOA) and Nurture in a Criminal.  UC Merced Undergraduate Research Journal,  8(1).
Pettigrew, M. (2020). Confessions of a serial killer: A neutralization analysis.  Homicide studies,  24(1), 69-84.


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