The Difference between a Psychopath and a Sociopath

By Jessika Endsley


Hi. This is Dizzy, and I am going to talk about the differences or non-differences between psychopaths and sociopaths. It's very thrown around words that we're talking about here, but it's all in the root word. Okay, let me just explain this to you real quick. The root word for psychopath is psycho and that means mind. That would mean biological. That would mean already there at birth. Sociopaths. The root word for sociopath is social or sociological, and that would mean something happened to the brain after birth which caused the amygdala and the conscience basically to malfunction or to stop functioning altogether. But there is no difference in behaviour, not really. I've heard people say, this causes... "Sociopaths are the chainsaw carrying crazy people. Psychopaths are much better. I would rather deal with the psychopath." I'm like, "It's the same behaviour." They are basically archaic terms now because now they use the term anti-social personality disorder.

Even though that's not entirely accurate because there are plenty of... I believe that they are psychopaths. I don't believe in sociopaths. So I'm going to say, psychopath right now. Psychopaths aren't all anti-social. Anti-social implies a lot more criminal behaviour than is common among the psychopathic population of the world. There are more non-criminal psychopaths than there are psychopaths who are in prison. So, you should think about that. Okay. Now here is where the debate happens, and Bob Hare talked about this a lot, and that's something I got really interested in it and yes, I know I hold this book up all the time. You should buy it, it's "Without Conscience" by Robert D. Hare, PhD.

Some people believe there are only sociopaths. They don't necessarily use that term, but they believe that all behaviour that is psychopathic or sociopathic, depending on your own personal opinion, is due to trauma. There is much evidence against this in cases of serial killers and other violent offenders. You have perfectly fine childhoods. I mean Ted Bundy's childhood wasn't even that bad. It was weird with the whole, his sister being his mother thing, but nothing traumatic especially has come about. Same deal with Dahmer, but I don't believe he was a psychopath or a sociopath. I believe he did have a form of a conscience, but that's a different story. So the people who have a heart and want to believe that there is no such thing as pure evil, and there's not, that's subjective by the way, they tend to gravitate towards sociopath. But they don't always use the correct term. But you've got to think about the root word.

difference-psychopath-sociopathPsychopath is... That's what I think there is. I think that it's formed before birth, most of the time. Any damage to the front part of the skull could affect the amygdala and therefore the conscience, which could cause a malfunctioned or non-functioning amygdala. And that would make, not a sociopath 'cause it's not necessarily an emotionally traumatic event, but someone with psychopathic tendencies or a complete psychopath, who wasn't born a psychopath. But it is biological. It is purely a brain function. No trauma, no emotion, anything. It is a piece of your body that is causing this. There are people who believe they are both. That's very possible. There is no way I believe that there is only sociopaths. But like I said, you got to look into that root word. People get confused with that root word, and they use the wrong terms much like they say... Well, people will confuse a psychopath with one who is psychotic. Psychopaths have a disturbing grip on reality. Someone who is psychotic does not, which is why, I get irked when someone says, "Somebody who ate somebody's face or whatever must be a psychopath." No, they were psychotic and delusional or a cannibal or whatever.

So yeah. I guess that's basically all there is to say about it, but you should do some research and look into the neurology of the whole thing, because it's very interesting to try and discover why such types of people occur in humanity. But actually learn the terms and take a look into the root words before you say a certain thing about a certain person. Do what you want, but it's very annoying, it's very ignorant, especially if you're trying to talk about anything psychological or criminally based.

So, I agree with Bob here that they are psychopaths. It is biological, and it happens before birth, and possibly, within the two or three years the amygdala is forming. But that still leans towards sociopathy. But personal experience, I think genetics has a lot to do with it. Anyhow, that is all. And do some research if you want to and just educate yourself. Don't use incorrect terms; makes you look stupid. Okay? Don't look stupid. It's not good. Okay? Anyway, have a good evening everybody.

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1.  moonRainbow    Sunday, May 18, 2014

What happened to Ted Kazcinsky during his time as a baby in the hospital is what made his brain psychopathic. His mother testimony is a clear account and proof that the traumatic event had profound effect on him. She described him as limp and unresponsive as a baby. It could have been because of his ilness, but I think that the most important fact is the prolonged separation from the mother. There was some milestones he missed, not because of his genetic but because of caretakers that were negligent in there approach.

Have you ever read Eugene Marais works on termites? Somewhere in his book he talks about an experiment that was made with a certain species of deer. Half the pregnant deers that were about to deliver were given drugs so delivery was given when unconsicous. When they came to their senses, the mother deer were unable to acknowledge the calf as their own. I think that the same concept can be applied to humans.

The traumatic events Ted relived during his experiment at harvard were not to help either, that was like someone pushing the nail further in. Anyone see a pattern of abuse widespread in society here? The scholastic cult does exist and is received as of the utmost importance for some.

Thank you for taking time to acknowledge my raving.

2.  mary    Saturday, January 17, 2015

Good take on nature vs nurture in moonRainbow's comment. Psychopaths? Well, this past week, I, an educated woman of advanced age, just figured out the difference between 'psychopath' and 'sociopath'. So, I know Dizzy has it right-and at a young age, too. Very clear explanation. No gobbled gook to complicate it unnecessarily. I recommend a good book by a psychiartrist who wrote a milestone book of the 1970s entitled 'The Road Less Traveled'. Dr. M. Scott Peck, M.D. wrote another, entitled "People of the Lie". It explains the problem of human evil and separates those who hurt others from those who strive to not hurt others. While it mentions demonic possession as a basis for their evil, pride as the culprit which makes them anti-people (like Lucifer's angels), perhaps it is both?!!! (ie. a predisposition to predatory activity combined with a pride that is inexplainable given our limited abilities.) A great read and it places responsibility upon our psychiatric mentors to recognize evil and to alert their patients to the effects evil relatives or acquaintances are having upon their lives and to avoid internalizing the abuse; rather, to acknowledge evil for what it is and to do whatever it takes to restore themselves and to move on from the pain. It also teaches the reader to protect themselves by recognizing the anti-people features of the psychopathic personalities. While at this point,medicine has not produced a cure for their problems, the cure is now available for their victims by freeing them from neuroses these psychos like to inflict.

3.  Jess    Sunday, October 18, 2015

Dahmer's childhood wasn't all that bad, that's true. However, his mother showed signs of histrionic behavior and he was neglected most of the time. Not being heard, not being listened to, can have a profound affect on a person. This does not in any way justify what he did.. I do believe he had a small conscious as well.. This can be observed in how he was lonely and wanted company, killing them so they couldn't leave him.. A symptom of borderline personality disorder of which he was diagnosed.

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