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Difference Between Sociopath And Psychopath

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Be honest: Who has never approached a neighbor, classmate, friend, or ex-partner calling him a psychopath or a sociopath? You may have also used either of these terms with your current partner during an unusually heated discussion.

We usually use the terms psychopath and sociopath interchangeably to refer to a person who deviates from standard social norms, acts unscrupulous, lacks empathy, or negatively influences others. However, do you know what the real differences are between a psychopath and a sociopath? In today’s article, we will analyze both terms to learn how to use them appropriately and determine if the person in front of us deserves these titles or if it is just a person who is not very pleasant. From this section, you will know about the difference between sociopath and psychopath. So, let’s get started.

Points in common of the difference between sociopath and psychopath

The common denominator of the two terms would seem to be the antisocial attitude. However, even though all psychopaths have an antisocial personality disorder, the same is not right for sociopaths. It is necessary to go back to the origin of behavioral patterns. In the case of sociopaths, we speak of an alteration in behavior caused by a brain injury or childhood trauma; in the case of psychopaths, on the other hand, we refer to a type of personality produced by the genetics of the individual. , as the geneticist David Lykken explains, the psychopath’s nature is the consequence of the brain’s underdevelopment that controls impulses and emotions.



The main characteristics of psychopaths

The psychopath cannot be classified as a mentally ill person since he is the main actor of his actions and not a mere spectator who ignores what he does. In other words, the psychopath behaves fully in his responsibilities by choosing how to act and without suffering consequences such as malaise or any other type of interference in his daily life.

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In his book El Psychopath ( The Psychopath ), Garrido Genovés points out the main characteristics of psychotic people.

Concerning the emotional and interpersonal area:

  • They exhibit talkativeness and superficial charm.
  • are self-centered, very convinced of their worth.
  • They feel no remorse or guilt.
  • lack empathy. They tend to lie and manipulate.

Concerning lifestyle:

  • They are impulsive.
  • struggle to control their attitudes.
  • They need constant arousal (they respond only to strong stimuli).
  • lack a sense of responsibility.
  • They suffer from early behavioral problems, being antisocial adults.

Forensic definitions refer to other characteristics: high self-esteem, meticulousness, perfectionism, rigidity, and stubbornness. In a nutshell, it could be said that the psychopath sees the human being as a tool to achieve his goals without being emotionally involved.

Difference between sociopath and psychopath With a charming personality

With a charming personality, they manage to integrate quickly and manipulate others until they gain their trust. Despite their inability to feel, they learn to imitate emotions while working to hide their true nature. Strange as it may seem, therefore, psychopaths are often educated, involved in stable relationships and jobs. It is not so odd that, after discovering that the tenant on the fifth floor is a serial killer, the neighbors find themselves declaring that he “always waved in the elevator.

The point that should I know

On the other hand, due to their difficulty assimilating thoughts and emotions, it is tough for psychopaths to understand the meaning of emotional experiences. I can detect feelings and call them by name, but not feel them. In other words, they know how to understand them intellectually and even manage to simulate them since they have learned which situations generate which feelings. However, they are not “natural engines of action.

What are the characteristics of sociopaths?

According to experts, sociopathy is not defined as psychiatric diseases in the strict sense of the term. According to psychiatrist Jose A. Posada, it estimated that at least 3% of men and 1% of women have sociopathic characteristics in their profile.

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Sociopathy traced back to a series of behavior patterns considered antisocial and criminal by most of society but considered ordinary – or even necessary – in the sub-culture of the social context in which sociopaths are inserted.

Unlike psychopaths, sociopaths can have a highly developed conscience and a good predisposition towards empathy, guilt, and loyalty towards concrete individuals. However, their sense of good and evil refers to norms and expectations dictated by their membership group.

Jose A. Posada lists some of their main characteristics:

  • immoral, impulsive, and irresponsible.
  • They are unable to love.
  • They don’t have a life plan.
  • feel no shame or learn anything from their past experiences.
  • They manifest poor or inadequate affective reactions.
  • They live a poorly integrated sex life and deviant sexual practices.
  • often manipulate, lie, steal, or cheat.
  • can attack physically and psychologically.
  • They use alcohol or drugs.

Other studies indicate that sociopaths tend to be nervous and easily altered. Furthermore, they usually live and work independently because of their difficulty in adapting to group work and staying long in one place.

Conclusions on difference between sociopath and psychopath

Psychopathy requires that the individual does not feel empathy or have a moral sense. On the contrary, sociopathy indicates a person capable of handling heart, with a developed morality and conscience, albeit with a somewhat distinct sense of good or evil. Sociopaths can feel emotional connections only towards specific individuals, such as a family member or friend, and only within specific contexts. Psychopaths, on the other hand, are unable to empathize and form real emotional bonds with someone. However, what makes psychopaths particularly dangerous and prone to crime is their ability to mimic emotional connections. Now you know well about the difference between sociopath and psychopath. Thanks for reading.