Doc Bonn Explains:

The Difference Between a Sociopath and a Psychopath

Reblogged from Doc Bonn Blog:

The study of criminal behavior includes an examination of mental disorders that can contribute to deviant behavior. Sociopathy and psychopathy are terms used in psychology and criminology to refer to two separate groups of people with antisocial personality traits.  Significantly, these conditions are not classified as mental illnesses and they are not official diagnostic terms.  In the fourth edition of the…

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Robert Hare writes that the difference between sociopathy and psychopathy may “reflect the user’s views on the origins and determinates of the disorder.” The term sociopathy may be preferred by sociologists that see the causes as due to social factors. The term psychopathy may be preferred by psychologists who see the causes as due to a combination of psychological, genetic, and environmental factors.

David T. Lykken proposed psychopathy and sociopathy are two distinct kinds of antisocial personality disorder. He believed psychopaths are born with temperamental differences such as impulsivity, cortical underarousal, and fearlessness that lead them to risk-seeking behavior and an inability to internalize social norms. On the other hand, he claimed that sociopaths have relatively normal temperaments; their personality disorder being more an effect of negative sociological factors like parental neglect, delinquent peers, poverty, and extremely low or extremely high intelligence. Both personality disorders are the result of an interaction between genetic predispositions and environmental factors, but psychopathy leans towards the hereditary whereas sociopathy tends towards the environmental.

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