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Serial Killer Did Obey One Law, At Least January 16, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brain, Science, Uncategorizable.
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I know this is supposed to be a happy blog, but arxiv.org is hosting the pdf of “Stochastic modeling of a serial killer”, which is exactly what it sounds like.  A serial killer (very successful serial killer:54 known victims) murder spree is plotted as a function of time and the units are number of neuronal firings between acts of murder.  It produced a curve that can be nicely fitted to the data, indicating the compulsion to kill is based on number of firings and obeys the power law distributions:

“Simkin and Roychowdhury used their model to simulate the pattern of firing in a brain to see how often it surpasses a given threshold long enough for a murder to take place.

In the model, they used a 2 millisecond period as the fundamental time step, that’s about the time between firings in a real neuron. And they simulated some 100 billion time steps, equivalent to 12 years or so, that’s about the period that Chikatilo was active.

The results are remarkably similar to the distribution of Chikatilo’s real murders and Simkin and Roychowdhury speculate that it would be relatively straightforward to introduce a realistic correction factor that would make the fit closer.

They say: "One could enhance the model by introducing a murder success rate. That is with certain probability everything goes well for the killer and he is able to commit the murder as he planned. If not, he repeats his attempt the next day. And so on."

This model leads to an interesting insight into the nature of serial killing. It suggests that the likelihood of another killing is much higher soon after a murder than it is after a long period has passed.”

Neurology is a lot more of a science than either psychology or psychiatry.  So there.  And don’t get me started on sociology.

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