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Psychological Determinants of Time Between Murders in a Series

Student: Anna Bernova

Supervisor: Aleksandr Vecherin

Faculty: Faculty of Social Sciences

Educational Programme: Psychology (Bachelor)

Final Grade: 7

Year of Graduation: 2021

Thousands of crimes are committed in the world every day and around 20% of them are serial crimes. Despite the rather well-studied field of victimology, the psychological aspects of the behaviour and mindset of the serial offender remain under-researched. An important aspect of serial crime is the time lapse between murders, during which the killer calms down and feels an emotional release. However, this period is different for everyone - for some it is short, for others it is long. The aim of this research paper is to try to identify the psychological factors that might influence the time between killings in a series. Four main hypotheses have been proposed. The first hypothesis suggests a link between elements of McDonald's triad and the time intervals. The second is the effect of brain injuries on the time between murders in the series. The third hypothesis suggests a relationship between the type of response to media reports of crimes committed by a serial maniac and changes in time intervals. The fourth hypothesis is that a low level of self-control, influenced by a supportive family environment and sufficient attention from the mother, will have an effect on the time between murders in the series. To test the hypotheses, an international team of researchers collected a database of serial offenders consisting of 4,686 people who had committed 1,2995 murders. The time between murders was converted into days. A quantitative analysis was carried out using R and JAMOVI. The test revealed a relationship between factors and time in hypothesis three and in hypothesis four, which gives us reason to believe that psychological factors can indeed influence the increase or decrease of time between murders in a series.

Full text (added May 27, 2021)

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