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Psychopathy vs Sociopathy

 

Explanations > Personality > Personality Disorders > Psychopathy vs Sociopathy

Similarities | Differences  | DiscussionSee also

 

How are psychopaths and sociopaths different? Both are rather unpleasant people who are usually best avoided. Below are descriptions of similarities and differences.

Similarities

Here are similarities between psychopathy and sociopathy. They are both:

  • Variants of Antisocial Personality disorder.
  • Lack of concern for the well-being of others.
  • Little regard for rules and social values.
  • Lack of guilt when wrong things are done.

Differences

Here are typical differences between psychopathy and sociopathy:

Psychopathy

  • Caused by nature, though parents may well not be psychopathic.
  • Abnormal brain structure.
  • Unable to form emotional attachments.
  • Driven by a need to control.
  • About 1% of the population.
  • May well be intelligent, educated and clever.
  • Can be from any socio-economic demographic.
  • Of concern to psychiatrists.
  • Driven by thoughts.
  • High level of self-control.
  • Highly deceptive and manipulative.
  • Plans actions.
  • Hides own involvement in antisocial activity.

Sociopathy

  • Caused by nurture, for example traumatic experiences in childhood.
  • Normal brain structure.
  • Can form emotional attachments.
  • Driven by fear and anger.
  • About 4% of the population.
  • May well have a lower level of education.
  • Likely from a lower socio-economic demographic.
  • Of concern to sociologists.
  • Driven by emotions.
  • Low level of self-control.
  • Highly aggressive.
  • Impulsive actions.
  • Obvious involvement in antisocial activity.

Discussion

Note that the points given are not necessarily universal, but may well be indicators of the conditions. Also note that such conditions can vary greatly between people, for example some may be more successful in remaining within the law. The lists here are offered to help you get an impression of the conditions, not to allow you to diagnose them.

Because of the social and 'nurture' aspects of sociopaths, they may be of less interest to psychiatrists who are interested in illnesses. However, the neural source of psychopathy means that psychopaths seem beyond therapy, while sociopaths could be influence to some extent.

Psychopathy and sociopathy are both variants of the DSM-IV Antisocial Personality disorders.

See also

Antisocial Personality, Psychopathic Personality

 

 

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