Serial Killer: Meaning and Types

Serial killers often commit crimes because they seek sexual or other intimate relationships with their victims or want to get their own back in society. The federal bureau of investigation (F.B.I.) suggests that serial killers may be motivated by fury, a thirst for thrills, greed for financial gain, or a need for public attention can be a link between the victims due to a common past or shared characteristics in terms of physical appearance, ethnicity or race. When investigating a serial murderer, the F.B.I. will often look for tell-tale signs such as the killer's preferred method of dress or weapon. Insight into the killer's identity and motivations can be gleaned from this pattern.

Who is a Serial Killer?

In most cases, the threshold of "three or more killings" is used to define serial killers, as this is thought to be specific enough to indicate a pattern without being too broad. It does not matter how many homicides there are; they must have occurred at separate periods and, in most cases, in distinct locations. The distinction between a serial murderer and a serial killer is the absence of a cooling trend (a major pause between the murders). However, due to definitional issues around the idea of a "cooling-off period," the category has been determined to be of little help to law enforcement. Some experts have come up with the term "serial killer" to describe people who go on killing sprees that last for months or even years with no clear "cooling off period" or "return to normalcy."

Characteristics of Serial Killer

Major characteristics of serial killers are

  • Their murderous urges may be influenced by varying amounts of psychiatric illness or sociopathic behavior.

  • During psychotic episodes, a mentally ill individual may mistakenly identify as someone else or feel motivated to commit murder.

  • Sensation-seeking, an absence of regret or guilt, impulsivity, a need for control, and dangerous conduct is all consistent with a violent temper, which some serial killers share.

  • The victim had experienced frequent emotional, physical, or sexual abuse at the hands of a close relative.

  • Paraphilias like fetishism, partialism, and necrophilia, in which the object of erotic attraction is experienced almost as if it were the symbolic body itself, may be more common among serial killers. People's paraphilias are arranged along a spectrum, with extremes at either end. These paraphilias can involve fantasies about specific organs (partialism), symbolic objects that serve as physical attachments of either the body (fetishism), or indeed the anatomical physique of the human body, its deemed worthy as well as bodily functions (one example being necrophilia).

  • Quite a few of these people have all three of the Macdonald triad risk factors for violent behavior.

    • People's interest in starting fires is widespread.

    • They engage in sadistic behavior, which, in children who have not yet reached sexual maturity, often takes the form of torturing animals.

    • To put it another way, almost 60% of people still wet the bed just after 12.

  • As kids, they often fall victim to bullying or isolation.

  • Some were engaged in minor criminal activity, such as stealing, vandalizing, or committing fraud.

  • They struggle to find and keep steady work and often do low-paying occupations. "Serial murderers often appear normal; possess families and a solid career," the F.B.I. says, "but they are not." There is information suggesting they originate from insecure homes.

Researchers have found that serial killers typically have average or low I.Q.s, despite the notion that they have above-average intelligence.Researchers have found that serial killers typically have average or low I.Q.s, despite the notion that they have above-average intelligence.


Serial killers tend to share a common experience, a troubled upbringing. Hickey's Trauma Control Model explains that family behavior (either parents or society) seems to be the primary factor controlling whether a child's behavior progresses into genocidal activity. Throughout their formative years, a child's family—or absence thereof—serves as a fundamental source of identity. As the saying goes, "a serial killer is just like any other person who has been conditioned to seek acceptance from parents, sexual relationships, or others." For young people, making friends is driven by a need to fit in and be accepted. The nature of their relationship with their parents will determine how they treat and value members of other groups. When children seem helpless to stop the mistreatment they experience, they may try to construct another world in which they can feel safe. They start living as if this new reality is a fantastical world over which they have complete power. Their emotional growth is nurtured and managed in this fantastical realm


Organized, disorganized, mixed are the major types

The F.B.I.'s crime classification manual classifies serial killers as organized, disorganized, or mixed, i.e., offenders who exhibit organized plus disorganized characteristics. Some killers go from organized to disorganized as their killings progress, such as psychological decompensation or complacency due to evading capture or vice versa, such as when a previously disorganized assassin identifies one or more particular aspects of killing as his/her source of pleasure and develops the main tactic that focuses on them Crooks prefer prostitutes because they are more likely to go out alone with strangers. These murderers control the criminal case and can also hide the bodies by burying or drowning them. They like seeing media coverage of committed crimes and often feel satisfied as if their acts were part of a greater strategy.

Disoriented serial killers kill quickly and leave the body. They are unemployed, lonely, or both. They often have mental instability and commit sexual violence and necrophilia. Disoriented serial killers' mean I.Q. is 89.4, and Mixed-serial killers' mean is 100.9 IQ.


To fully understand the social and behavioral underpinnings of a case, forensic behavioral scientists often consult a wide range of behavioral and behavioral science fields like psychiatry, psychology, and sociology, influences along mechanisms that shape criminal behavior despite their rarity serial as well as mass murders inflict unimaginable pain on their victims and instill phobias in the communities within which they occur the inclusive strategy of forensic behavioral psychology focuses on the specific demographic social plus cultural factors that are connected to violence which yields a more complete understanding of multiple homicides than any single field.