Psychometric Profiles of Two Serial Killers

Steve Williamson, VP Digital Marketing and Content, eRep, Inc.
Monday, April 15, 2024
Psychometric Profiles of Two Serial Killers

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People often ask us about the likely Core Values Index profile of various career tracks. A surprising question we sometimes get though, is, "What's the CVI profile of a serial killer?"

Humans have certain curiosities that may seem odd or even shocking on the surface. We are a curious species by nature and that is one of the reasons why we have dominated the planet more than any other creature that has ever existed.

What makes us fascinated by things that are hazardous to our well being? Why are we intrigued by macabre and dangerous things?

One of the most common questions people ask us after taking their Core Values Index psychometric assessment is, "What is the ideal career or job for me?"

In fact, finding the ideal career for their personality profile is one of the top reasons why people take the CVI. (Choosing the best educational track is the other one.) Working in a role that is closely aligned with your particular CVI profile is one of the best ways to find happiness and fulfillment in your professional life.

Take the Core Values Index and get access to your Personalized Career Guide. It includes advice and a list of careers ideally suited to your personality, a $39.95 value, included free with your CVI purchase.

The Psychology of a Serial Killer

We see TV shows on Netflix and Hulu that describe the steps law enforcement go through to catch serial killers. Histories of notorious serial killers like Ted Bundy and Dennis Rader ("BTK") describe their childhood, their first kill, and the pathology of what drives them to commit despicable and heinous crimes.

Law enforcement agencies like the FBI have created teams of highly trained experts who analyze the minds and methods of serial killers. Their goal is to develop profiles of these individuals in the hope that this information can help them catch other serial killers.

The Core Values Index is the world's most accurate and reliable psychometric assessment. Can it be used to measure the likely psychometric profile of a serial killer?

Is there a classic CVI profile of a mass murderer? There may be. Read on.

The Motivation and Method of a Serial Killer

Like an FBI profiler, let's put ourselves in the mindset of a serial killer. What psychological characteristics (other than psychopathy, of course) would they need to not only be effective in their deadly endeavors, but also to maintain the motivation to do so?

To be good at something it helps if you enjoy doing it. Beyond the pathological aspects of their brain chemistry and childhood experiences, a serial killer likely has a certain psychometric profile that aligns with the activities and motivation inherent in their evil path — or at least their method.

For instance, its very rare for serial killers to act cooperatively with others. The vast majority go solo. Most take great steps to keep from getting caught. Dennis Rader, the "BTK" killer of Kansas, relished in his elaborate attempts to elude capture and enjoyed taunting law enforcement to apprehend him.

Rader was so confident in his ability to outsmart law enforcement that he sent letters that deliberately included clues about his identity and whereabouts. Ultimately he wasn't quite smart enough and was caught due to a missed detail found on a computer disk he sent to the police that contained a hidden connection to the church where he was a volunteer.

Ted Bundy also didn't want to get caught, but he also had a deep-seated drive to be noticed and admired. Ego was a dominant component of Bundy's personality. His ability to influence and manipulate others played a part in his success. He was noted for his charm and charisma and arguably wouldn't have been as successful at luring young women to their doom without it.

Ted Bundy and Dennis Rader share some obvious differences but also have some noteworthy similarities.

Both Rader and Bundy were highly confident in their abilities to solve problems. They were convinced of their own intellectual superiority over law enforcement personnel.

One area where these two serial killers diverge is their focus on planning. Rader went through great lengths to plan out his kills — he called them "projects" — and had great levels of patience in how long he'd wait before acting.

Ted Bundy, on the other hand, became more impatient and rash toward the end of his killing career. At one point he brutalized multiple women in a single day without any rational planning beforehand.

It is important to note two key points:

  • First, having a particular psychometric profile doesn't make a person a serial killer. It's just that serial killers may share common psychometric traits.
  • Second, the pathology and life experience of the serial killers mentioned in this article played a huge role in what made them so evil. These people are psychopaths and that is by far the driving force behind what makes them want to kill others.

CVI Profile of Bundy and BTK

We estimate that Ted Bundy and Dennis Rader both shared strong Innovator traits. They were hardwired problem-solvers and were convinced of their ability to be the smartest person around, so much so that their egos played a big role in how they got caught.

Thinking you're super smart isn't the same as being super smart.

They also shared a lot of Builder energy. Both had great faith in their ability to know what to do in the moment and were unafraid to act. Rader didn't exhibit rash or spontaneous behavior like Bundy did toward the end of Ted's killing career, but that rashness might have had more to do with his psychopathy than his likely CVI profile.

One key area where Ted Bundy differed from Dennis Rader is that Ted had a lot of Merchant energy. In fact, it might have been his primary core value energy. He had a Merchant's intuition and could read people very well, so much so that his ability to manipulate others was one of his most famous characteristics.

Dennis Rader had low charisma in the classic sense and cared little about what others thought of him — beyond his Innovator-driven assertion that he was smarter than everyone else.

Considering these two individuals, we can draw a few conclusions.

The drive to kill someone doesn't come from a person's Core Values Index psychometric profile. That evil urge comes from their psychological condition and pathology.

Sharing the same CVI profile as Ted Bundy wouldn't make you a serial killer any more than sharing the same birthday (November 24).

Second, the CVI profiles of Bundy and Rader likely played a roll in their success (if you want to call it that). The CVI doesn't measure and describe aptitude, but it does measure and describe the preferred approaches and attitudes a person has.

Dennis Rader probably had a lot more Banker core value energy than Ted Bundy, which is reflected in Rader's more methodical and patient approach. Bundy had a lot more Merchant energy than Rader, which is reflected in Terrible Ted's propensity to use his natural charm and charisma to manipulate others.

Both shared high amounts of Innovator energy, reflected in their desire to find innovative ways to solve problems — to not only find and murder their victims, but in the elaborate and clever ways they attempted to outsmart the authorities. They were convinced that they had more problem-solving ability than their opponents in law enforcement.

Although many serial killers share some commonalities, their individual psychometric profiles will be reflected most in the particular ways they go about their criminal activities. Their CVI profile won't reflect their drive, but will reflect their preference and methodologies.

Core Values Index™ and CVI™ are trademarks of Taylor Protocols, Inc.

Go to to learn more about the CVI or to take the Core Values Index assessment.

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Steve Williamson

Steve Williamson

Innovator/Banker - VP Digital Marketing and Content, eRep, Inc.

Steve has a career in project management, software development and technical team leadership spanning three decades. He is the author of a series of fantasy novels called The Taesian Chronicles (, and when he isn't writing, he enjoys cycling, old-school table-top role-playing games, and buzzing around the virtual skies in his home-built flight simulator.

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