Psychopathy and Sociopathy
The term “sociopath” is generally used by the public to define an unscrupulous person, while the term “psychopath” is used to describe a sociopathic person who is more dangerous, such as serial killers.
Clinically speaking, a sociopath and a psychopath are individuals who exhibit the characteristics of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) and ignore the rights and feelings of others. Even though both terms are used interchangeably from time to time, each has distinctive features that can be defined comprehensively.
What is Psychopathy?
Psychopathy is a disorder characterized by maladaptive personality traits: this is a neuropsychiatric disorder that results in inadequate emotional reactions, lack of empathy, a weak behavioral control, antisocial deviances, and criminal behaviors.
Psychopaths are responsible for a substantial amount of the crimes committed. Their manipulative interpersonal styles have a largely destructive impact on an individual’s life, job, and relationships. They usually have a disposition towards manipulating the people around them, and they are even capable of playing with the emotions of the people who are close to them. According to Merriam, psychopathy is to have an egocentric personality that is characterized by not feeling remorse for one’s actions, a lack of empathy, and the presence of tendencies towards crime. Genetics, environmental factors, experiences of the person, and brain damage may be playing a part in the occurrence of psychopathy.
Characteristics of psychopaths
Some of the characteristics of psychopaths are as follows:
- Unreliability and insincerity
- Pathological egocentrism and inadequate capacity to love
- Superficial attractiveness and intelligence
- Lack of remorse and shame
- Lack of insight
- Rare suicide attempts
- Lack of “angriness” or psychoneurotic symptoms
- Falsely-motivated antisocial behaviors
- Weak reasoning and failure to learn through experience
- A general hardship in emotional reactions.
- Being unable to plan life
What is sociopathy?
Sociopathy is also known as Anti-social Personality Disorder. People with ASPD are not capable of understanding the feelings of others. Most of the time, they break the rules and make impulsive decisions without feeling guilty for the damage they cause. Sociopaths can also use “mind games” in order to control the people around them, or even strangers. Furthermore, they can be considered charismatic or attractive. A person who shows the least interest in socializing with their circles is usually categorized as a sociopath. Adverse and unexpected experiences, and traumas at the early stages of their lives can lead to sociopathy or antisocial personality disorder.
Characteristics of sociopaths
Some of the characteristics of sociopaths are as follows:
- Failure to comply with the laws, and breaking social rules
- Deceiving, swindling others for their own personal gain by using fake identities or nicknames
- Being incapable of making long-term plans: Failure to see the pros and cons of their actions
- Offensive or aggressive behaviors
- Not taking his own safety or others’ safety into consideration
- Failure to fulfill personal or professional responsibilities
- Not feeling guilt or remorse: They don’t feel guilty if they harm somebody
- They generally have an arrogant disposition
Differences between psychopaths and sociopaths
|They clearly show that they don’t care about the feelings of others.||They act like they care about the feelings.|
|They usually act impulsively and aggressively||They act in a cold-blooded manner|
|They have angry or violent dispositions||They usually don’t notice the stress felt by others|
|They rationalize the behaviors of others||They have superficial, empty, fake relationships.|
|They fail to sustain personal and professional lives.||They lead a normal life to cover up their criminal activities|
|They can establish emotional bonds, though it’s difficult for them||They cannot establish real emotional bonds, but they can love people by their own methods|
The term “psycho” is generally used to tease somebody by associating them with a mental disorder. The term “psycho” does not exist in neurology or psychiatry, it always requires some special explanations. The thin lines between these disorders cannot be distinguished from one another, and they are usually used in a wrong context due to the lack of information in the public.
Psychopathic crimes were committed in the past, and they keep being committed today consistently. Psychopathic behaviors must be better understood by the society, doctors, and judicial system.
– Bhambhani, L. P., Prakash, S., & Tripathi, M. A. (2021) Psychopathy and Sociopathy: A Modern Understanding of Antisocial Personality Disorder. Indian Journal of Social Studies and Humanities. Vol. 1 (5)