How to Understand a Serial Killer's Intentions

Ever wondered why someone would kill? Or want to solve a murder mystery yourself? Here's a brief guide to help you to understand the head of a serial killer.


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    Do some research. Search for biographies or other information about the particular killer you are trying to find out more about. Any information you can find on the serial killer in question is helpful to understand him or her as a person. If you don't know who the killer is yet, look at other serial killers who used the same killing techniques. Looking at similar serial killers is also a good idea if you do know the identity of the serial killer.
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    Find out where they were educated and where they grew up.
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    Try to understand the serial killer's actions and thoughts in your own head. You might attempt to understand their role and precisely why they may have done what they did. Few serial killers will kill for absolutely no reason; there is often a motive, even if it is not necessarily sound. Understanding their psychology and background helps here. They might have some kind of mental illness.
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    Find out about their home life when they were a child. In many cases, the serial killer had a dysfunctional home life, which played a big role in why they committed the crimes that they did.
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    Try to find a common trait (race, occupation, age, gender, hometown)that each of the victims share. This might play a role in figuring out the killer's motives.
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    Do some research about common psychological disorders that many serial killers have. Some disorders to look up include:
    • Antisocial Personality Disorder
    • Narcissistic Personality Disorder
    • Munchausen Syndrome
    • Bi-polar Mood Disorder
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    Research what books the serial killer has read and what religious background s/he comes from. Use the information you find to speculate about what conclusions the serial killer may have drawn from the books as well as his own past experiences. Could those have affected the way the serial killer viewed the world?
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    Look at autopsy reports of the victims. Were they killed slowly or quickly? were they drugged? Were they mutilated by the killer? This could help figure out the psychological state of the killer.


  • Have an interest in this area, as well as an interest in the prison system.
  • You should be able to handle hearing about death.
  • When seeking to understand them, look at them not as a monster but as a person. At one point, he or she was just like anyone else, but then something happened to break them away from the rest.


  • Don't nurture evil in your own heart.

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Categories: Psychology Studies