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Article

The Perfect Storm: Mapping the Life Course Trajectories of Serial Killers

Reid S., Katan A., Ellithy A., Della Stua R., Denisov E. V.

Since the 1970s, scholars have produced a large body of research attempting to establish the mechanisms by which sexual serial killers come to arrive at a life of repeat fatal violence. From the standpoint of developmental psychology, however, the explanations offered are far too limited in scope. Human development is the product of complex reciprocal transactions that occur between an individual and their environment throughout their life span. This present study is meant to encourage a critical reconsideration of past knowledge (mainly static traits) in favor of the recognition of the complexity of human development. Using life span developmental psychology as a guiding framework, this study traces the developmental mechanisms that come together to shape the psychopathology that drives the motivations of sexual serial killers.