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Sociopaths Versus Psychopaths

Updated on December 7, 2017
Support neurodiversity in a psychopathic world? - NOT!
Support neurodiversity in a psychopathic world? - NOT!

What's the difference between a sociopath and psychopath? According to the Diagnostic Criteria (DSM-IV) there is no difference as long as the person is not suffering from schizophrenia or having a manic episode. The DSM term is called Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD)

Both sociopaths and psychopaths have no regard for human rights, no guilt, disregard for laws and social mores and can be violent. According to 'The Psychopathic Influence', "They have a sixth sense for detecting and exploiting any weakness you may have. At a very early age they learn that they can inflict mental and emotional harm on others with ease."

The difference is that the sociopath is a low level psychopath, someone who uses more direct action and is less manipulative than the high functioning psychopath. It is easier to recognize a sociopath because they are not as good at camouflaging themselves - not as successful in being the wolf in sheep's clothing.

Low level sociopaths appear to be more nervous, easily angered, not as educated, living on the fringes of society and therefore they are unable to hold a job and stay in one place. Low level sociopaths tend to be more disorganized, committing spontaneous crimes. Probably abused as a child, they may be capable of some empathy towards animals and not hurt as much those closest to them.

High functioning psychopaths appear normal because they hold steady jobs, have long-term relationships and families by manipulating others through charm. They blend in by mimicking emotions they do not feel in order to gain trust. They carefully plan out crimes with great detail and have a 'plan b' in case anything goes wrong. Psychopaths are meaner - they will hurt their own family and friends as if they were strangers. Psychopaths are more dangerous because they are "better at it" and respected because they are successful in business and relationships.

In the U.K.’s Guardian as reported by Maia Szalavitz : Babiak said, "The survey suggests psychopaths are actually poor managerial performers but are adept at climbing the corporate ladder because they can cover up their weaknesses by subtly charming superiors and subordinates. This makes it almost impossible to distinguish between a genuinely talented team leader and a psychopath."

What's the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath? - the latter is successful at 'it' and there is a higher percentage of them in leadership roles than the average population. "Politicians share personality traits with serial killers" - Andrew Malcom

Although INTJs (Myers-Briggs personality Type profile) share some of the same characteristics as the psychopath - "... they are not normally psychopaths. Whereas, psychopaths have very sallow emotions, INTJs appear to be unemotional." - Dr. Dorothy McCoy

The INTJ personality traits are:

  • Bad at expressing emotions
  • Good listeners
  • They believe that they are always right.
  • They are usually very self confident about their work
  • They hate to accept blame more than any other type.

Some famous INTJ's are

* Arnold Schwarzenegger - actor, Governor of California
* Donald Rumsfeld - former U.S. Secretary of Defense
* Rudy Giuliani - former New York City mayor
* Stephen Hawking – astrophysicist
* Ayn Rand – philosopher, author
* John F. Nash Jr. – mathematician, game theorist
* Theodore Kaczynski – infamous “Unabomber”

"Psychopaths have no conscience or empathy and when placed in key senior positions are able to influence the moral climate of the whole organization" - Clive R. Boddy

In Jon Ronson's widely acclaimed book The Psychopath Test, Professor Robert Hare was quoted "I should have spent some time inside the Stock Exchange as well. Serial killer psychopaths ruin families. Corporate and political and religious psychopaths ruin economies. They ruin societies. Capitalism at its most ruthless is a manifestation of psychopathy."

Have you ever met a sociopath?

See results

Mitt Romney's Family Dog, Seamus

The Dog Story: 12 hours strapped on top of a car, defacates after hours confined, Mitt hoses dog down without even taking the dog out of the crate. Continues driving a now shivering wet dog. What may even be worse is that the original story from Swidey was that Romney went through a car wash without taking the dog down.

What really is revealing is the way is how Mitt Romney responded.

DIANE SAWYER: Would you do it again?
MITT ROMNEY: Certainly not with the attention it's received

It appears that "Romney would do these things again if he didn't have to face the repercussions." - Paul Constant

What does the 'Dog Story' reflect on Mitt Romney?

Is Mitt Romney a psychopath because he still doesn't 'get it ' that it was inhumane and cruel to treat his dog like luggage?

See results

Mental Health Psychological Abuse


Submit a Comment

  • jgshorebird profile image

    Jack Shorebird 2 years ago from Southeastern U.S.

    Interesting article; however, the Myers-Briggs personality Type profile is almost 100 years old. It has been widely criticized as unreliable, invalid and so on for decades. It was based on Jung's work, which was before modern medical science. It is still used today, but that doesn't mean it's a good test. It turns out that our brains are much more complicated than Jung or Freud 'thought'.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 5 years ago from USA

    They certainly are.

  • ptosis profile image

    ptosis 5 years ago from Arizona

    Thanks ologsinguito, seems that some people are wired differently.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 5 years ago from USA

    These people are incredibly clever, and it's amazing how they can work you over. They home in on your weaknesses as if they had radar, and before they turn ugly, they know how to fulfill even your unspoken needs. Unfortunately, there seems to be an epidemic of predatory behavior. The more light we can shine on this the better.

  • ptosis profile image

    ptosis 5 years ago from Arizona

    Thank you grand old lady. Between politicos telling us 'how good it's going to be" and TV ads that promise sexy Swedish girls parachuting from the sky when drinking a certain brand of beer - we all all to used to being lied to morning, noon and night that it doesn't even upset people anymore and just take it as normal.

  • grand old lady profile image

    Mona Sabalones Gonzalez 5 years ago from Philippines

    Very insightful article, well researched and informative. Interesting to think that many leaders have these qualities, and those they lead must bear the consequence. Truly, nothing is ever as it seems and life is quite complex, sometimes in dangerous ways.

  • ptosis profile image

    ptosis 5 years ago from Arizona

    I'm currently reading the book "Into the Mirror" about the FBI agent Robert Hanssen who fed info to the Russian for 20 years. This guy is a piece of work. Member of the Opus Dei - he is a real oddball like Brevik - a combination of incongruent beliefs.

    Yet there is one thing that show he is a sociopath - lack of emotions even though he can mimic them quite well.

  • Kalux profile image

    Kalux 5 years ago from Canada

    I find these topics so interesting. I have wondered many times about people I know and if they fit the criteria, some do.

  • ptosis profile image

    ptosis 5 years ago from Arizona

    I didn't know was able to hit more than one button!

  • Minnetonka Twin profile image

    Linda Rogers 5 years ago from Minnesota

    I too, know of many sociopath's. It's scary how many of them are out there. I agree with everything you and others are saying about Romney and his lack of respect and attitude. Great article and I hit all buttons except for funny. Nice work here!

  • Virtual Treasures profile image

    Kacie Turner 5 years ago from Michigan

    I was getting a lot of traffic on one of my Sociopath hubs from your page, so I wanted to stop by and check out your hubs! Excellent article. Voted up and awesome!

  • ptosis profile image

    ptosis 5 years ago from Arizona

    everlearn: - The questions or the answers?

  • everlearn profile image

    everlearn 5 years ago from Greater New York Region

    Love the poll questions, lol.

  • Leaderofmany profile image

    Leaderofmany 5 years ago from Back Home in Indiana

    I think a know quite a few of both, and I hope the new DSM V will be more clear on a lot of these disorders. Great information.

  • ptosis profile image

    ptosis 5 years ago from Arizona

    Thanks for the great comment. (sigh) I not even voting this time around. I no longer write in 'none of the above' because that is considered a 'spoiled voted'.

  • WordCrafter09 profile image

    ME Whelan 5 years ago from New England

    Interesting Hub.

    The one thing that's bothered me about Romney (besides the dog thing) has been a fairly recent interview there was with his wife. He looked like he slapped on a condescending smile (as if he was proud of her, the way someone might be proud of a child) and kept it on through most of the time she spoke.

    The way I figure it, he either does have a condescending attitude toward her, and the smile may have genuine; or else he slapped on a smile because he thinks that's what "an admiring" or "adoring" husband would do when his wife is talking in a nationally televised interview.

    If he had the kind of respect for her that most people think someone should have toward women, he would have canned any urge to do a condescending smile (if he had that urge at all) and sat there without doing anything as she answered the questions. If, on the inside, he was proud of his wife, who's to say someone shouldn't be proud of someone else (even an adult). He should have known to respect her enough, though, not to appear as if he thinks the condescending smile is OK and/or will win over anyone concerned with his attitude toward women.

    People think he's clueless and out of touch because of the wealth factor. I don't think it's the wealth factor. I think he gives off a whole lot of "don't-get-it" vibes when it comes to respecting people (and dogs). Well, don't forget that STUPID "Who let the dogs out" thing he did when he met a group of African American kids ages after that "song" was even out. That's what his first remark to those kids was????

    The man may not be anything close to a sociopath (or whatever - who knows..), but he sure comes across as dismally lacking in respect (and not just a half-baked, learned, version of respect - but genuine respect). I'm a registered Republican, and I'm just going to let the dead people steal my vote. Part of me thinks the man probably isn't out-and-out evil (and may not be evil at all, of course), but the world has seen disregard/disrespect of others in the past (and in the extreme). I can't in good conscience vote for someone who even shows seemingly occasional signs of it.