Other motives for serial murder often include financial gain, moral insentives, the need for attention or to fill the void of loneliness or neglection, although, the most freqent driving force of serial killing is sexual control and dominance. Many victims are raped either before or after being killed – these acts are often conducted with intent to express power over a corps which then alleviates the murders feeling of sexual control over the victim. Furthermore, bondage, torture and cannibalism are also common features of serial homicide, which are also conducted in the killers quest for dominance. Are serial killers born or made?
The serial killing timelines of both Bundy and Kemper show that their mass killings were driven by the incentive of sexual control and dominance over the subordinate as they both practised necrophilia (an interest or obsession with dead bodies, which often lead to desire to take part in sexual acts with them, such as intercourse).
With both Bundy and Kemper being identified as sexual sadistic serial killers, the ultimate question still remains: are serial killers born or made? Are serial killers inherently or genetically predisposed to this behaviour (as argued by the nature debate) or do they acquire/learn this behavior from their surroundings, childhood and/or environment (as suggested by the nurture debate)?
Brain scans of many convicted serial killers show that serial killers are born due to their innate composition of their brain/differing levels of brain activity in comparison to the average individual. Evidence of this argument is shown in the work of a psychology professor: Dr. Richard Davidson. Back in 2000, Davidson conducted primary research of his own in which he compared the brain scans (of 500 people) between those who were prone to violence and those who were considered to be ‘normal’. Upon reviewing these images, Davidson and his colleagues observed that those with a large amount of aggression – particularly those who have committed aggressive murders – have almost no brain activity in the orbital frontal cortex or the anterior cingulate cortex, which control emotional impulses.
They did, however, have perfectly normal activity in the amygdala, which controls reactions to fear. This study clearly highlights the importance of the genetic makeup (of the brain), which can impact the individuals ability to bring out aggression, violet and murderous traits – all which contribute to the outcome of a serial killer. Furthermore, lack of brain activity in the sections of the brain that drive emotional impulses show that serial killers do not show lack of emotion (such as affection and love) due to their socialisation, but rather that they are born this way.