In this post I will be talking about how to identify a psychopath and sociopath as well as how to avoid them. I will also attempt to make a conclusion on which one is more dangerous to come across.
How do you identify them?
Something that I have talked a lot about in previous posts is how psychopaths and sociopaths have a lack of empathy. I talked about it a lot for good reason, a lack of empathy is one of the most defining traits of any psychopath or sociopath. This is one of the many things we know that can be used to identify these two types of people. If you are ever wondering if someone you know is a psychopath, then one of the things you can do is think about empathy they have. Empathy can be hard to quantify, but think back to times when you would expect them to be empathetic and try to remember if they were or not. To quote Psychology Today, “they (psychopaths) lack many of the social emotions that other people take for granted, including guilt, remorse, sympathy, and pity”. This is method is certain by any means and just because the person wasn’t empathetic once does not make the a psychopath or sociopath, but it is something to consider. (1)
Another trait that both psychopaths and sociopaths have is that they are high in narcissism. What this means is that they are self-centered and refuse to see any of their own flaws and instead will project them on to others around them. For example, of they think that they aren’t good enough at something, they will say that others are bad to boost their own ego. Narcissists will put themselves pedestal, but its doesn’t take much to bring them down. What other people see as constructive criticism, a narcissist will see as a deceleration of war. So, when trying to identify a psychopath or sociopath, try to see if they have narcissistic qualities. If the person both lacks empathy and is a narcissist, they might be a psychopath or sociopath. Just remember that it doesn’t mean that they are 100% a psychopath or sociopath. (1)
How do you avoid them?
To avoid I psychopath you are going to want to distance yourself from them as much as possible. Doing this might be hard, and it could be different for every psychopath, but avoid them if possible. You may think that its unfair to psychopaths because they will always be lonely. The thing is, they don’t have emotions like we do and will neither feel sad nor lonely.
The other way is to make sure that you don’t fall for any of their “traps”. If you know that the person is a psychopath, make sure you are cautious of everything they say and do so that you don’t get manipulated by them. If you manage to do this well enough, the psychopath/sociopath may just move on to someone else which means that they hopefully leave you alone. If you do this you need to be careful, both psychopaths and sociopaths are very good at getting you to think that they are good or that what they are saying is objectively true. Just make sure that you are very careful and pay close attention to what they do.
Which is more dangerous?
The whole point of this inquiry project is to come to a conclusion as to which type of person is more dangerous to encounter, a psychopath or a sociopath. So, which one is more dangerous? In my last post I left off with a question of whether it’s more dangerous to be a rash thinker (more like a sociopath) or to plan out everything (like a psychopath). While writing that I actually thought that maybe it’s more dangerous to encounter a sociopath, but now I think that I was wrong. With all the time I have now spent looking at the differences between psychopaths and sociopaths one thing a stayed constant, and that is that sociopaths seem to be less stable and calm.
On the surface this might sound more dangerous than a psychopath, but it also means that sociopaths should be easier to identify. If it’s easier to identify that the person is a sociopath then you can avoid them. I think it all comes back to something I said in a previous post. I said that psychopaths are better at integrating into society, maintaining a “normal” life, and staying undercover. This would allow them to stay hidden and not be detected which would give them lot’s of time to whatever they need to do and you might never even know. For this reason my conclusion is that it is more dangerous to encounter a psychopath than a sociopath. (2)
Hi Mathew, I hope you are well,
I found your topic very interesting. I didn’t actually know of any identifying characteristics that separated psychopaths and sociopaths before this. I also thought your research was very organized and informative, which made it easy to understand the topic. Perhaps you can analyze the portrayals and interpretation of these two groups of people from film and media? Also exploring if they have a realistic portrayal as a lot of common people receive their perception of psychopaths and sociopaths through film and television portrayals.
Here are some sources you can use:
Your post was really interesting. I liked how you explained your final conclusion and your thought-process behind it—it was very well done and convincing. I also appreciate how succinct and well-explained all of your information was, with clear headers and good incorporation of quotes
I’m so sorry, I posted that pre-maturely.
To continue, I’ll just wrap it up.
Although I know you won’t be doing any more research rounds, here are some sources. Maybe you could just use them for further research out of curiosity:
Hi Matthew. I enjoyed reading your post, as I find your topic quite intriguing. It was interesting reading about how sociopaths and psychopaths are indeed different, something a lot of people don’t know. I was just wondering if you could touch on if all psychopaths and sociopaths should be avoided and why. I understand that some of them must be dangerous, but are they all dangerous and do they all lay out “traps”?
Some sources you could use are: