Is it more dangerous to encounter a psychopath or a sociopath?

Image result for psychopaths

Hello and welcome to my first round of research. If you saw my project plan you may notice that the name has changed, this is to make the question more inquiry based. Anyways, as I said in my project plan, I will be talking about what it means to be a psychopath and sociopath. I will also talk about how these types of people can be dangerous to others.

What is a psychopath?

If I want to learn about the dangers of psychopaths, I first needed to learn what it means to be one. According to Henry R. Hermann Ph.D, “Psychopathy is defined as a mental (antisocial) disorder in which an individual manifests amoral and antisocial behavior, shows a lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, expresses extreme egocentricity, and demonstrates a failure to learn from experience and other behaviors associated with the condition”(1).That was a long quote, but what does it mean? The quote starts by talking about how it is an amoral and antisocial behavior. Amoral means that the person lacks moral sense and is unconcerned with the rightness and wrongness of something. The quote then talks about showing a lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, expresses extreme egocentricity, and demonstrates a failure to learn from experience. This means that these types of people don’t experience feelings and they put themselves and their own needs before anyone else.

Image result for psychopaths

To sum it all up, it basically talks about how people who are psychopaths don’t have a sense of morality, don’t have feelings like sadness or happiness, and always put themselves before anyone else. When I say “before anyone else”, I really mean that they never help others, even if they look like they are. Psychopaths will only “help” others if it puts them ahead or helps them accomplish some goal. Psychopaths also have manipulative interpersonal styles and are very impulsive. This is basically what a psychopath is (1).

What is a sociopath?

Sociopaths are people with ASPD (anti social personality disorder), which is apparently the same thing that a psychopath has. According to Healthline, to be diagnosed with sociopath a person must be older than 18 and must show a pattern of 3 of the following traits (2):

  1. Doesn’t respect social norms or laws. They consistently break laws or overstep social boundaries.
  2. Lies, deceives others, uses false identities or nicknames, and uses others for personal gain.
  3. Doesn’t make any long-term plans. They also often behave without thinking of consequences.
  4. Shows aggressive or aggravated behavior. They consistently get into fights or physically harm others.
  5. Doesn’t consider their own safety or the safety of others.
  6. Doesn’t follow up on personal or professional responsibilities. This can include repeatedly being late to work or not paying bills on time.
  7. Doesn’t feel guilt or remorse for having harmed or mistreated others.

Image result for anti social personality disorder

Healthline also mentioned that their is no clinical difference between a psychopath and a sociopath (2). They also mentioned that some people distinguish them by the severity of their actions. For example, a sociopath doesn’t cause serious harm to others while a psychopath might physically abuse others. That being said, there are many official sounding people who say that their is a difference between them, although they are similar (3). There seems to be quite a bit of confusion in the psychology world. I have chose to go with the idea that they are different, because if i say they are the same then this inquiry project would end, and I’m not about to let that happen. In a future post I will probably address the two arguments and maybe come to a conclusion on which is right, but that’s for a later date.

How are they dangerous to others?

these types of people are dangerous to others because they can be aggressive, manipulate others, have no regard for the safety of others and themselves, and many other reasons. It is important to note that psychopaths and sociopaths are not necessarily violent (3). Psychopaths can be more dangerous as they experience a lot less guilt for their actions than a sociopath (3).

That is all I’m going to talk about in this post, thanks for reading! Also, if you are wondering about comments and how to relate it to my next post, my next post will be about how they act in different situations, and how they manipulate others to reach their “goal”, whatever that goal may be.





2 Replies to “Is it more dangerous to encounter a psychopath or a sociopath?”

  1. Hi Matthew,

    Your research is very interesting. I always wondered how you would diagnose someone as either a psychopath or a sociopath. They are very similar but i can also see how they are different from each other with the research that you have done. I’m stoked to hear your next post, possibly how they get their motif and maybe if this disorder is hereditary ie. a gene they may possess that is different causing them too act in such ways.

    Hope to hear from you soon !

  2. Hi Matthew! It was really interesting reading your post and learning info on these mental conditions, however basic. I haven’t had much experience in this field of study, as school somewhat avoids the subject entirely and I haven’t found myself to really be the type of person to do research if I’m not forced to, so collecting this knowledge for the first time is very fun. I am very much looking forward to you elaborating and going even further into this subject!

    Some resources you could use are:

Leave a Reply