Published online by Cambridge University Press: 26 May 2022
Serial lust killing shows features of addiction, and some killers describe themselves as addicted. Comparisons of lust killing with such addictions as gambling, drugs and consensual sex reveal similarities. Following Robinson and Berridge, it is suggested that the motivational process involves dopamine and exhibits sensitization of incentive salience with experience of killing. Lust killing shows several common properties with other addictions: seeking to repeat the first ‘high’, escalation, increased wanting over time, gateway activities (soft drugs → hard drugs; rape → killing), ambivalence in engaging, stress increases the tendency to engage in the addictive activity, a sudden high often followed by an aversive condition, craving and a temporary correction of such feelings as hopelessness, lacking control and powerlessness. The urge to kill can suddenly occupy the conscious mind. Lust killers commonly consume alcohol in association with killing. Comparisons reveal some common properties between lust killing and war-time killing.