Psychopathy and sociopathy are often considered as synonymous character traits. Both the psychopaths and sociopaths are defined as personality disorders who are involved in certain antisocial activities and posses some egoistical traits.
Most of the psychiatrists, forensic psychologists, criminologists and police officers often misinterpret a psychopath and a sociopath. According to them, both these personalities are same. Some of the leading experts also refuse to believe the fact that both psychopath and sociopath are completely different from each other.
But, according to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder, which was released by the American Psychiatric Association in 2013, both the psychopaths and the sociopaths can be categorized under Antisocial Personality Disorder. Though they share certain characteristic similarities they are different in various aspects.
Firstly, let us have a look at the main similarities in their behavioral traits.
-Both the psychopaths and the sociopaths tend to show signs of disregards for laws and social norms.
-They don’t show a respect for other’s right.
-Both of them are never guilty of their conduct, or never feel re-sentenced.
-They both possess aggressive behaviour and tend to be violent in nature.
In spite of so many similarities, the psychopaths and the sociopaths have some unique features in their behaviours and characters which distinguish them from one another.
Sociopaths are often nervous and can be easily irritated or tempted. They are fickle-minded and do not have any control over their emotions. They generally come from the uneducated section of the society and hence they suffer from inferiority complex. Due to their volatile nature sometimes it becomes difficult for them to stick to one profession. They tend to change their place of stay very often. They also find it difficult though not impossible to continue with one relationship.
It is often seen that sociopaths are capable of making a close bonding with a particular individual or group, but they do neither show any respect for the rules of the society, nor for its social beings. Hence, they are quite numbered in aspects of meaningful attachment. As a result, they generally cannot continue a long-term relationship.
As the sociopaths mostly seem to be in a fit of rage and unorganized, they are often susceptible to execute or commit any crime including murder in an unplanned way. This erratic behaviour of the sociopaths always makes them easily spotted among the others (psychopaths).
Unlike sociopaths, the psychopaths are never empathetically attached to others. Psychopaths are hostile and exploitive in nature. So, they often consider others as mere playthings who are meant for their entertainment. It is quite astonishing that though the psychopaths are not at all empathetic, but they possess a charming personality. Because of their manipulative nature, they are easily reliable and trustworthy for others.They have a great ability to mimic emotions and so they seem normal to unsuspecting people. Sometimes their mimicry and manipulating nature are so strong that they are often not suspected by others. They also go for long-term relationships and maintain families.
Unlike sociopaths, the psychopaths come from the educated society and can continue their job more steadily than the sociopaths. Their educational background makes them more organized and careful even while committing a crime. They make all criminal plans in advanceand in a flawless manner. Even in a critical situation, they remain calm and cool. They are more effective criminals than the sociopaths because of their unflappable nature. So, it becomes very difficult to recognize a psychopath. Sometimes a targeted victim does not understand that he is spotted by a psychopathic predator. It is really very unfortunate and risky.
If it is considered from the diagnostic point of view, there is a vast difference between the Psychopath and the Sociopath. Psychopaths are formed because of the genetic reason whereas sociopaths are generated in the society due to their environmental circumstances. If someone is suffering from the psychologicaldisorder, it results in the underdevelopment of the part of the brain, and the person is prone to Psychopathy.
Sociopathy can be the cause of the childhood sufferings, which can be both physical and mental. As sociopathyiscaused due to certain childhood trauma, it is not inborn in nature. Hence, sociopaths are sometimes concern able to certain individuals and under certain circumstances.
Finally, it can be concluded by saying that however, Psychopathy is less in number than the sociopathy, but it is the most dangerous antisocial personality disorders. So, some of the well-known serial killers like Ted Bundy, Dennis Rader, and John Wayne Gacy are all psychopaths in nature.