Is there a difference between sociopaths and psychopaths? Ask Doc Bonn.

Is there a difference between sociopaths and psychopaths? Ask Doc Bonn.

The study of criminal behavior includes an examination of mental disorders that can contribute to deviant behavior. Sociopathy and psychopathy are terms used in psychology and criminology to refer to two separate groups of people with antisocial personality traits.  Significantly, these conditions are not classified as mental illnesses and they are not official diagnostic terms.  In the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) both sociopathy and psychopathy are listed under the heading of Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). Many psychiatrists and criminologists use the terms interchangeably. I believe there are important distinctions between them, including their causes or etiology.

Sociopathy and psychopathy share many traits, which is the main source of confusion for differentiating them in psychology and criminology. Traits that sociopaths and psychopaths share include:

  • A disregard for laws and social mores
  • A disregard for the rights of others
  • A failure to feel remorse or guilt
  • A tendency to display violent behavior and emotional outbursts

Although there is no consensus among professionals on exactly what differentiates sociopaths from psychopaths, among those who believe each is a separate disorder, there is a list of significant differences. First, sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily agitated. Second, they are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society, unable to hold down a steady job or stay in one place. Some sociopaths form attachments to an individual or group, although they have no regard for society in general. In the eyes of others, sociopaths appear clearly disturbed. Any crimes committed by a sociopath tend to be disorganized and spontaneous. Miguel Rivera (“Charlie Chop-off”) is a classic example of a sociopathic and disorganized serial killer, as is Jack the Ripper.

Psychopaths, on the other hand, often have charming and disarming personalities.  They are manipulative and can easily gain people’s trust. They learn to mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them, and will appear normal to other unsuspecting people. Psychopaths are often educated and hold steady jobs. Some are so good at manipulation and mimicry that they have families and other long-term relationships without those around them ever suspecting their true nature.  An example of such an individual is the serial killer Dennis Rader (“Bind, Torture, Kill”) who had a family, career, civic life and avoided detection for 30 years.

When committing crimes, psychopaths carefully plan out every detail and often have contingency plans in place. Because of the marked difference between the method of crimes committed by sociopaths and psychopaths, the distinction between these disorders is perhaps even more important to criminology than it is to psychology.  That is because psychopathic criminals, unlike sociopathic criminals, commit highly organized crimes often after meticulous planning.  Ted Bundy is a classic example of the psychopathic and organized serial killer.

It is also appears that the causes of psychopathy and sociopathy are quite different.  It is likely that psychopathy is the result of “nature” (genetics) while sociopathy is the result of “nurture” (environment).  According to the late David Lykken, a behavioral geneticist known for his studies on twins, psychopathy is related to a physiological defect that results in the underdevelopment of the part of the brain responsible for impulse control and emotions. Sociopathy, on the other hand, is more the product of childhood traumas and abuse.

Based on this model, sociopaths are capable of empathy or emotional connection with others but only to specific individuals, such as a family member or friend, and only in specific contexts.  Psychopaths, on the other hand, are simply incapable of empathy and are unable to form real emotional bonds with anyone.  It is the ability of psychopaths to effectively mimic empathy and emotional connection that make them particularly dangerous, unassuming and often highly successful criminals.

Tune in for “An hour to kill with Doc Bonn” Friday, September 29, 2012 at 12pm ET when he discusses the minds and homicidal motivations of sociopaths and psychopaths.  Doc Bonn will be joined by special guest, Nina Boski, lifestyle and entertainment expert, to discuss the mass appeal of hit Showtime Television series “Dexter.”  Listen live: http://groups.drew.edu/wmnj/

Dr. Scott Bonn is Professor of Criminology at Drew University and a media expert.  He is the author of the critically acclaimed book “Mass Deception: Moral Panic and the U.S. War on Iraq”and is currently writing a book about the public’s fascination with serial killers. Follow him @DocBonn on Twitter.

 

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Posted on September 26, 2012, in Criminology, Psychopath/Sociopath and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 45 Comments.

  1. Yet surprisingly, many people know nothing about this disorder, or if they do, they think only in terms of violent psychopathy – murderers, serial killers, mass murderers – people who have conspicuously broken the law many times over, and who, if caught, will be imprisoned, maybe even put to death by our legal system.

  2. While I agree that distinction between psychopathy and sociopathy are both legitimate and important, I am a bit confused with regard to neither being considered a “mental illness,” but alas the latter is considered to be the result of “nature,” or genetics. If psychopathy is, by definition, linked to “the underdevelopment of the part of the brain responsible for impulse control and emotion” as David Lykken states, why is it not considered a “mental illness?” That being said, I found the distinctions between the disorders (of whatever variety disorder they may be classified) clear and comprehensive. I am curious as to how a hybrid type of case may be classified, however – for example, if one particular killer who is capable of empathy and the like came off agitated and crazy, but was still able to skillfully craft and hide his murders and wrongdoings for years, would he be considered a psychopath or a sociopath? It doesn’t seem like a system that lends itself to always being black or white when it is applied.

  3. What I found interesting was the similarities and differences between a psychopath and a sociopath. I had no idea that a sociopath would have seemed so lost in society. There is a movie that I watched that had Angelina Jolie in it and she portrayed a sociopath. Now that I think about it, she definitely had some of the characteristics of a sociopath. American Psycho with Christian Bale was another movie that was a great representation based on your definition of a psychopath because he was well educated, highly intelligent with a great job. People looked up to him and would have never suspected him. It stood out to me that people that seem the happiest could be hiding the biggest secret. Unfortunately there is nothing really you can do because some people are just really messed up in the head like the woman who killed the 101 year old in the nursing home.

  4. I was unaware that there are distinct differences between sociopaths and psychopaths and that both conditions are actually antisocial personality disorders, rather than mental illnesses. While the distinction of sociopaths as people who are easily agitated, likely uneducated, and on the fringe of society and psychopaths as people with charming personalities that can gain the trust of others and who can mimic the emotions of people without feeling any real emotion appears to be distinct, I think the line between the two disorders is not always clear. I am unsure whether someone like James Holmes, who lacked remorse for his actions, would be considered a sociopath or a psychopath? Like sociopaths, he appeared to be on the fringe of society, and others thought he was disturbed before he even committed his crime. However, like psychopaths, he was highly educated and meticulously planned his crime.

  5. I learned about the major differences between sociopaths and psychopaths, according to those who think they are two separate disorders. For instance, I did not know that sociopaths tend to be uneducated and unable to keep a steady job, while the opposite is true for psychopaths. I also learned that sociopaths tend to commit crimes that are spontaneous and disorganized, and psychopaths tend to carefully plans and organize their crimes. Also, I realized that sociopathy is probably caused by “nurture” and psychopathy is probably caused by “nature.”

  6. I never truly understood the difference between Sociopaths and Psychopaths. I think that a lot of the time I blended those two categories into one. I understood that they disregarded laws, morals and did not feel remorse but I never understood until today the true difference, which I find very interesting. I find it intriguing that sociopaths have some degree of empathy towards only some close figures within their lives but are disconnected with the rest of the world, where psychopaths have no connection with anyone. I thought the phrase cord pulled from the wall was an excellent way to explain their relationships because it was easy for listeners to understand and relate to. These people are different because psychopaths have a flat line of emotion where I never knew sociopaths have some type of emotion towards individuals. I thought it was very interesting to talk about Jole Rifkin within the radio show because it showed an example of a psychopath that only got caught because he became to confident and a little messy with his work. When the State Trooper caught him, he defended the murder by saying it was okay because she was a prostitute. This shows the lack of emotion that Jole truly had and the connection that he failed to have with society. I found this radio show to open my eyes and actually be able to understand the difference between these two deviant individuals.

  7. That is very astute, Sarah. The line between sociopath and psychopath is thin and grey, indeed; rather than black and bold! Not everyone agrees that there is a distinction between the two antisocial personality disorders. I believe there is. However, it is not always easy to categorize those who are afflicted, and there is no known cure..

  8. I found this blog very educational and interesting. I always knew that there was a difference between sociopaths and psychopaths, but I never knew the differences were so distinct. I understand why people consider both these antisocial personality disorders to be alike because in my opinion I feel like the similarities are more commonly known than the differences. I never knew that psychopaths can mimic emotional connections and can hide who they truly are from family, friends, and society. I feel like the fact that they can do that and they spend a lot of time planning their crimes makes they so much more dangerous compared to sociopaths even though they are dangerous too.

  9. Great article. Although these terms have a similar connection, after reading this I feel it is easier to distinguish the differences because of the personality traits you had mentioned. I never really put a sociopath in perspective, but I can see how they would different from psychopaths, the main difference being their personality in a social and/or anti-social setting. But then again, although the psycho seems to be the more confident “normal-seeming” social actor compared to the “nervous” and “antisocial” sociopath, if someone were to observe and judge a sociopath, would it be wrong to describe them as a bit “psychotic”? Especially as I have never heard someone ‘crazy’ be called a “socio” instead of a “psycho” (there probably isn’t such a word). This issue is what makes me believe that a sociopath can maybe be a psychopath as well? Do you think both of these terms would ultimately be considered a form of neurosis? Cause that picture above definitely looks a bit more than just a person with antisocial personality traits. Ahhh!

  10. Before I read this article, I figured that sociopaths and psychopaths were generally along the same lines. I never really realized how different the two were. What really surprised me the most about sociopaths was that sociopathy is a result of “nurture”. I would think that if anything at all, it would be just like psychopaths and come in your “nature”. What surprised me the most about psychopaths was how they carefully plan out each and every little detail to make the crimes more twisted. My favorite thing that I learned from this article, which I found the most interesting was that even though the two are distinct when it comes to diagnosing the conditions, they have several common traits about them.

  11. I think that throughout the years I’ve definitely have had an interest in researching and knowing the minds of sociopaths and psychopaths within the United States. With new shows such as “American Horror Story” which featured scenes of the Black Dalia case and a fictional possibly psychopathic or sociopathic character, Tate Langdon my interest has grown. In this show, Tate is one of the many deceased people that haunt the Harmon’s family new LA home. Before his death, Tate set his mother’s boyfriend on fire at his office and then went on a killing spree in his high school’s library, killing 15 peers. Tate and his actions were ultimately the product of mental disorders linked to his entire family and his mom’s negligence. He, I think, can definitely be considered as to be somewhat on the fence of a psychopath and sociopath. His actions displayed the more sociopathic mind while his later actions of going through treatment for his issues and falling in love with family’s daughter showed a more psychopathic mind. This article was definitely mind provoking and cleared up that grey area between psychopaths and sociopaths for me. I was one of the many who believed that they were one in the same and interchangeable words.

  12. This was very interesting to me. Two of my favorite shows are Criminal Minds and Dexter. However, I feel that there is even a further distinction between the shared traits listed above. Could their lack of remorse of guilt be a result of blinding anger towards society, familial abuse at an early age? This would make more sense when defining a sociopath in my opinion. Both sociopath’s and psychopath’s may night feel remorse or guilt for their crimes, but they might experience other feelings to a greater degree than people without those disorders. So maybe the distinction lies in the triggers of these emotional outbreaks and which emotions are felt stronger?

  13. Psychopaths always interested me, but I did not know about sociopaths. The reason that I have interest in them is because I don’t understand them. And I feel like people are always trying to understand things, it’s human nature. The high IQ level of psychopaths along with the complete lack of remorse or guilt, is what make it real interesting for me. Guilt, remorse and sympathy are natural human emotions, tag that along with extreme intelligence and you have a pretty dangerous person. I wasn’t sure if it was socially constructed or a genetic issue before this article, but since it is a genetic issue I have a question. Someone who is a psychopath does it mean one of his/her parents is, or is it a recessive gene, or just even a random mutation at birth a possibly none of his/her family members even carries the trait? Also, is there an estimate on what percent of people are psychopaths and sociopaths? obviously it’s hard to know exactly because their not exactly admitting it. And is it a gender dominant trait? I feel like all the people you here about in the news are men so I was just curious. Is this because men are more suseptable to the trait? Or do women who are abused at birth take different routes such as prostitution, or find a man to manipulate and do the work for them?

    • Hi Eric, I have been diagnosed with ASPD with strong psychopathic and narcissistic traits and a God Complex with an IQ of over 140. I am unable to answer all of your questions about the genetics part but I am able to answer some. If you would ever like to know more about psychopaths, like myself, feel free to email me at m.greene1976@yahoo.com and I’d be more than happy to answer any questions you have.

  14. Sabrina Vandendorp

    One of my favorite shows is Criminal Minds because I find it so interesting to see how criminals minds’ work because they are so different from ours. I have always found psychopaths and sociopaths very interesting, but I never really knew the difference between the two. It’s interesting that there are people out in the world that seem completely normal, but could be psychopaths. Psychopaths are definitely scarier than sociopaths because they could be anyone and you would never know. I also find it interesting that there are so many similarities between psychopaths and sociopaths, but that they are constructed in a different way. What I mean by this is that psychopaths are born with these traits and sociopaths are nurtured into this way of being by abusive parents. Overall, I find the similarities between psychopaths and sociopaths very interesting now that I know the difference between the both.

  15. This article and the radio show provided me with information in a topic I am extremely interested in. For the past year and a half I’ve unconsciously become extremely interested in crime/law shows such as Criminal Minds, Law and Order: SVU and I’ve watched SIlence of the Lambs more than morst of my friends! From these shows I have always been like “Oh my gosh, he’s a sociopath/psychopath!” without knowing what the terms really meant just a loose idea of what they could mean. From this article and the radio show, I learned exactly what the difference between the two is and it makes so much sense, I had an epiphany on Friday afternoon. The idea of nature (psychopaths) and nurture (sociopaths) is completely plausible for me, given the prefixes of the words it would make sense that “psych” would be something internal or natural or individualistic, and “socio” being something from society or one’s environment that would affect our behaviors. After the radio show, I happened to be watching Law and Order: SVU at the time and one of the episodes happened to be a kind of reenactment of BTK and it was cool to have my newfound knowledge on psychopaths while I watched the episode.

  16. I also think that the distinction between sociopaths and psychopaths is very interesting because I had never given it any thought. I find it interesting to look at the the two terms in the context of the TV show Dexter. Dexter has been my favorite show for a few years now, but I had never thought to analyze it until I listened to your show. It seems to me that Dexter starts the show as a clear psychopath. He had no emotions but became an excellent mimic of other people’s emotions. It seems at first that he takes on the roles of “boyfriend” and “brother” only to develop an identity to hide his murders behind. Yet, as the show progresses, it seems that he feels genuine empathy for the people around him. One could argue that he gradually changes from a psychopath to a sociopath. This theory can stand strong even in the nature versus nurture question pertaining to whether he should be labeled a psychopath or a sociopath. Dexter’s foster father certainly believed that killing is in his blood and is inevitable because Dexter witnessed his mother’s death. But as the seasons progress, we see more and more how much time and effort Harry put into teaching Dexter his code, and we can’t help but wonder if Dexter’s condition is a result to Harry’s expectations. Is Dexter a psychopath because he was born a murderer? or is he a sociopath because he is simply filling the role that Harry expects him to play?

  17. The distinctions between psychopathy and sociopathy is extremely interesting. Most notably the information about psychopaths struck me as particularly interesting. The concept that psychopaths “mimic emotions, despite their inability to actually feel them” and can appear as normal people is concerning. Furthermore, the idea that these individuals are so intelligent and manipulative that they are able to hide their actions from the general public and close friends and family members is disturbing. In addition, the differences between psychopaths and sociopaths resonated with me as important. Criminologists distinguishing between these two groups have a difficult and important job that perhaps is overlooked by the public.

  18. Fradline Regilus

    The difference between a psychopath and sociopath is one is the result of nature and the other is the result of nurture. Sociopaths are likely to be uneducated and live on the fringes of society and psychopaths often have charming and disarming personalities. Psychopaths are good at mimic emotions even though they cannot feel them. This method of differentiating between a psychopath and a sociopath is sometimes criticized, since the causes of psychopathy, sociopath, are not entirely clear, and are likely a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Other than that they both have the same mental disorder. The sociopath knows how to control the impulses and is more logical about achieving their goals. I agree that most psychopaths are more careful, more organized and considerably more successful at holding down a job than a sociopath. They both have violent tendencies and lack empathy towards others and they both kill people.

  19. before reading this interesting article, i thought sociopath and psychopaths were the same thing. But, of course, i had a feeling they had a few differences between them. As in sociopath was more with in the neighborhood, and psychopath was a random killing spree. Yet, i lacked knowledge to what they really were. Never the less, this article opened my eyes to a whole new meaning of sociopaths and psychopaths. I honestly didn’t know the major difference between them two. When i use to watch those crime shows, i never put much thought when they mention those two type of killers. now that i have a clue, I’ll pay better attention to who they call a sociopath or a psychopath.

  20. After reading this article I can say I have a more clear understanding of the distinguishing traits of psychopaths and sociopaths. I always associated them as being one in the same but what interested me the most was the fact that psychopaths can be fully functioning in society with a disarming and charming personality while sociopaths are portrayed in this article as not. What are they like in society? Do they also possess the potential to live a seemingly normal life until they spontaneously decide to act? Another interesting point was that I didnt realize that sociopaths were a result of reactions through life while psychopaths have a defect in their genetics. I always figured that since they were one in the same that they just had a moment that made them snap and act the way they do. So after reading this article I can say I have a more clear understanding of the two that are in fact different.

  21. My first question is- so are there more sociopaths or psychopaths? After reading this I almost want to watch every episode of Criminal Minds and count how many times the two terms are correctly used or if they are used interchangeably, which I assume they are. Also, isn’t is possible that some criminals can be labeled as both for sharing a combination of these unique characteristics? I was watching the tv show ‘I (almost) Got Away With It’ and many of these criminals seem to be both a sociopath and psychopath in their filming of the show. For some of the murderers or criminals who are arrested for illegal weapons possession, their crime seems to be unplanned, disorganized, sometimes are even a crime of passion. It is not until after their spontaneous crime acts that they begin organizing their thoughts to avoid suspicion, like a psychopath would. I guess my question is it is possible for a criminal not to be categorized as either- can they possess these main common traits- such as disregarding others and not feeling guilt, and then not fall into either category? Are some serial predators or rapists, even some serial killers- just that: serial killers or rapists and not sociopaths or psychopaths?

  22. I find it interesting that two conditions that seem so similar could stem from two very different situations. An issue that is often viewed as being exactly the same is actually the result of two very different scenarios resulting in similar but very different crimes.

    I wonder if sociopaths suffer from some sort of genetic predisposition similar to psychopaths as many people that are affected by childhood trauma and abuse do not become serial killers. Conversely, could psychopaths who already lack the ability for empathy and impulse control be triggered by some sort of trauma which ultimately results in murder? Could both disorders, while primarily caused by different circumstances, actually have many common causes in how they cause a person to become a serial killer?

  23. Before reading this article, I generally thought of sociopaths and psychopaths as having mainly similar qualities and I would not be able to distinguish between the two. I understood that they disregarded laws and social mores but the distinct characteristics of psychopaths struck me as extremely interesting. It concerns me how they can almost function in society and are manipulative in their actions. Psychopaths are educated people who can hide this part of their life is concerning. It goes to show that a psychopathic killer could essentially be anyone. Overall, sociopaths and psychopaths are still hard to distinguish to the average person and it is clear that criminologists have an exceptionally hard job, especially because there is also no diagnosis for such criminals.

  24. The nature of psychopathy and sociopathy are obviously conducive to a murderer because they lack the normal ability to connect and conform within society as social control theory would suggest. However, my question is whether psychopaths and sociopaths are able to control the urge to murder if they are either inclined to due so because of their environmental upbringing as is the case for sociopaths, or because of a genetic predisposition for psychopaths. I imagine that there are far more psychopaths and sociopaths in communities of society than there are ones who actually become serial killers, but what would keep someone with these types of anti-social personality disorders from killing? Also, are there any other sort of crimes that these people would be more likely to commit due to their disregard for laws, norms, and the rights of others? There must also be a reason why not all people who are socialized in an abusive environment develop into sociopaths. Perhaps there is way to prevent someone from becoming a sociopath or psychopath but even if there is, there may be an innate lack of coping skills that one requires to combat the strains of life.

  25. Reading this article was very helpful to me because it taught me the differences and similarities between Psychopaths and Sociopaths despite the fact that before reading I thought those two terms meant the same. At the same time it was crazy to find out how close Psychopaths could be close to us and how unexpected they could be with their actions and thoughts since they apparently look normal to the yes of society. This article definitely made me be more judgmental about people since know I know they could be right next to me without me even knowing, Furthermore, I also found it fascinating to see how brain/genetics and society itself play an important role in the way people act and the consequences these two factors bring when they don’t correlate in a positive way with the individual, thus creating social consequences that sometimes end up in tragedy. I definitely agree with this article because I consider that nurturing and society are not the only factors that push individuals to have this illnesses but I consider that genetics play a very important role that to my point of view cannot be predicted or curable.

  26. This article has demonstrated that the terminology used for sociopaths and psychopaths are completely different. Although psychopaths are influenced by nurture, and society, the main factor for this is surprisingly genetics. Psychopaths could essentially be anyone, since they are manipulative beings with no conscious what so ever and no remorse towards their actions.The way they plan out every single detail to perform a crime is very astonishing to me and somewhat of a worry to our society. As oppose to sociopaths whose actions are influenced by unpleasant past events that occurred while growing up. Criminologists definitely play a big factor in distinguishing such individuals from society.

  27. Sarah Osterberg

    I thought that this article was incredibly informative. Coming from more of a psychology background the part about the different psychopathy and sociopathy was interesting. Learning about the nature vs nurture debate in psychology really made me ponder the statement of psychopathy being the result of “nature” (genetics) while sociopathy is the result of “nurture” (environment).

  28. Very interesting. Prior to reading this article, I had always heard these two terms used interchangeably by the mainstream media outlets. Would someone like James Holmes (Aurora Colorado Movie Shooter) be considered a psychopath or sociopath? On one hand his rampage at the movie theater appeared to be a spontaneous act of violence, and his physical appearance at the time, and in court made him look like an outcast. Yet on the other hand he had previously been a grad student pursuing a PhD, which would have gone against the notion of sociopaths being on the fringes of society. Would he be classified as a sociopath for the spontaneous nature of his crime, or as a psychopath for his ability to blend in with society as a “nerdy” grad student?

  29. Hannah Fransowie

    I found this article to be very interesting, and it was the first time I ever heard an explanation regarding the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath. I always assumed that a sociopath was one who committed crimes or acts against society, while a psychopath was one who was mentally ill. This article explains how neither is classified as a mental illness, but both are listed under the heading of Antisocial Personality Disorder. I never knew that sociopaths live on the fringe of society, appear clearly disturbed and tend to commit disorganized crimes. While psychopaths are educated people who commit highly organized crimes. This article clearly shows how important this distinction is to the field of criminology. It also made me realize that I have probably come across a sociopath while growing up in New Jersey.

  30. I never realised that there was a difference between sociopaths and psychopaths until I read this article and listened the radio program. What I couldn’t believe was that psychopaths could blend within our society and play two different lives. They could be a loving family guy at home, then could also be a killer on the other side. It was very interesting to hear that nature and nurture play a part in differentiating the two and how genetic predisposition has its effects as well.

    I can see how it is difficult for professional criminologists to distinguish whether a person is a sociopath or a psychopath, maybe somewhere down the line there will be a proper diagnosis made.

  31. Samantha DeSimone

    This article was extremely interesting to me. I never really thought about the differences or similarities between sociopaths and psychopaths, I had always assumed they were the same and had always heard more about psychopaths than sociopaths. I thought it was interesting how sociopaths tend to have spontaneous crimes while psychopaths tend to plan each crime down to every detail. Its also strange to think that a psychopath can be charming, yet educated and extremely manipulative. That makes me question a lot of people in society because it seems like that could be anyone.

  32. I found this article about the differences between psychopaths and sociopaths very interesting. I was previously under the impression that difference between two was that sociopaths had no conscious and felt no remorse while psychopaths did. I also believed both to be a genetic condition. After reading this I am curious about why it is believed that sociopathy is a result of nurture and psycopathy a result of nature. Are geneticists/neuro-scienctists able to determine where this disorder exists in the brain? I’m also curious about what sort of tip offs, if any, exist in order to help determine a psychopath. I went to high school in the same district as the Colorado killer, James Holmes, and I’ve heard from many people who went to school with him that he appeared very sane and balanced. I realize this is only speculation that he is a psychopath but might there have been any warnings signs that people around him just didn’t pick up on? I’m glad to have the record set straight regarding the difference between psychopaths and sociopaths as this was something I was clearly wrong about and I think it’s an interesting, though troubling, area for future studies to be conducted.

  33. It was interesting how you differentiated the differences between both sociopaths and psychopaths in this blog. I thought it was important how you mentioned how psychopaths tend to be the normal everyday people who are intelligent yet manipulate. While sociopaths are those that are unorganized and displace without the ability to even keep a job. I feel that sometimes terminology like this is lost and the fact that you emphasized on making the definition clear is really helpful.

  34. Zenzele Johnson

    I really enjoyed this informative post on the differences between sociopaths and psychopaths. Like many I never really knew or considered the distinctions but understand how these terms are used interchangeably but think that in itself makes it hard to interpret and correctly classify. I also now have a better understanding of why psychopathy is more likely a result of genetics and sociopathy is more likely to be learned. I wonder what genetic dysfunctionally produces psychopaths. I also wonder how differential association theorists Sutherland and Cressey would classify sociopathy since it is learned.

  35. I was also unaware of the differences between sociopaths and psychopaths before reading this article and if they were both right in front of me I still wouldnt be able to tell the difference. I can also see how both cases can cause someone to commit murder and why Dexter is one of the top shows on TV. This is a very interesting topic mainly because i was suprised that both sociopaths and psychopaths share the comon trait of disregarding other peoples rights. It’s almost as if they live in their own little society.

  36. This article was incredibly enlightening. It gives the reader a real view on the lives of sociopaths and psychopaths and what people with those mental illnesses view when they look at others. I never really considered the differences of them and just grouped both under the term “crazy”. Psychopaths seem to be well hidden in society and harder to notice and Sociopaths seem to be all over the place and easily detected I never took the chance to see the difference and am glad to be able to distinguish between the two. Again very enlightening article on the lives of sociopaths and psychopaths.

  37. Michael E. Wise from Kirkland, Il is an extremely narcissistic sociopath who will ruin your life. Run, don’t walk away from this psycho.

  38. What if a given psychopath shares some common traits with a sociopath? Could an hybrid ever exist? An organized serial killer that can form occasional, genuine and true connections with some specific persons (family and so on)?

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