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Chapter 3 - States of Brain and Mind

from Part I - The Factors That Underlie Lust Killing

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 May 2022

Frederick Toates
Affiliation:
The Open University, Milton Keynes
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Summary

Serial killers tend to score highly on a scale of psychopathy, ticking boxes such as low empathy and glib superficial charm. Another condition that can be tapped to derive insights is anti-social personality disorder (APD). Some reports of the experiences of lust killers point to a split in individual consciousness, sometimes expressed as good versus bad personalities. There can be a sudden flip between these states. This is sometimes conceptualized as dissociation and can be revealed as ‘voices in the head’. It is distinct from psychosis and has not been successful as a plea for mitigation. Characteristics of dissociation include viewing oneself from a distance, having a poor or no memory of the killing (i.e. memory specific to the state at the time of the killing) or seeing a disliked person as the target of the attack. Some serial killers are diagnosed as psychotic.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2022

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