What is The Difference Between a Sociopath and a Psychopath?

What Is The Difference Between A Sociopath and a Psychopath?

What is The Difference Between a Sociopath and a Psychopath?

These terms are often used interchangeably to describe a person who lacks empathy and morals, and commonly to refer to murderers.

However, even though some symptoms overlap, there are some differences between the two conditions.

What Does it Mean to Be a Sociopath?

Sociopathy is associated with an antisocial personality disorder that is characterised by impulsive and sometimes criminal behaviour. Such individuals might be prone to anger and more likely to be violent, which makes keeping a job and maintaining relationships very challenging. Sociopaths might recognise that what they’re doing is wrong but will always justify it and don’t try to fit in as psychopaths do. When you come across a sociopath, you’ll probably see them as people who don’t care about anyone but themselves.

What Does it Mean to Be a Psychopath?

Psychopathy is considered to be a different condition from an antisocial personality disorder. Psychopaths are much more difficult to spot because they tend to be social chameleons who don’t act impulsively and have great planning skills. Even though they have no conscience, they’re good at hiding it; they might come across as charming as they pretend to care about others and act sociable. At the same time, their relationships are shallow and they find it difficult to recognise other people’s emotions. Even though psychopaths are associated with serial killers, not every psychopath will be violent and many might simply act manipulative to get what they want.

What Causes Sociopathy and Psychopathy?

In the past, studies have focused on the influence of genes and brain differences as the cause underlying psychopathic traits. For example, previous findings showed that psychopaths might have decreased activation and volume of the amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex responsible for emotional regulation and control of reward and punishment-related behaviour. [1]

When it comes to sociopathy, it’s often linked to harmful childhood experiences such as abuse. In other words, it was believed that sociopaths are made by their life experiences while psychopaths are born, however, nowadays many researchers agree that trauma or genes can’t be the only factor responsible for the development of either of the conditions. [2]

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[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7219694/

[3] https://nyaspubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1196/annals.1330.017

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