Mikhail Simkin and Vwani Roychowdhury analyzed the pattern of a serial killer, Ukrainian-born Andrei Chikatilo, and found that it correlated with their predicted pattern of neuronal firing in the brain.
In the 1990s, Chikatilo confessed to the murder of 56 people over 12 years. (He was executed in 1994.) When charted on a timeline, the murders seem to follow a pattern known in mathematical terms as a "Devil's staircase."
The intervals between the murders follow a power law, with the killer seemingly commiting murder when the neuronal excitation in his brain exceeds a certain threshold, the researchers hypothesize.
"We cannot expect that the killer commits murder right at the moment when neural excitation reaches a certain threshold," they write. "He needs time to plan and prepare his crime. So we assume that he commits murder after the neural excitation was over threshold for [a] certain period. ... Another assumption that we make is that a murder exercises a sedative effect on the killer, causing neural excitation to fall below the threshold."
In other words, a new murder would be more likely than the average murder rate immediately after a killing, and less likely than the average when time has passed, according to the analysis.
Isn't the world full of wonderful things? I have always felt that there could be very simple, elegant explanations to everything -- even something as complicated as human behavior. I can't wait until Google is able to model everyone's mind and mob mentality and then we can truly understand everything there is to know about human nature.