How are psychopaths and sociopaths genetically similar/ different?
Sociopath traits, characteristics and genetic influence.
A sociopath, by definition, means “person with a psychopathic personality whose behaviour is antisocial, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.” (1) That’s probably what most of us think about when we mention sociopaths. Not to be confused with psychopaths, sociopaths are more erratic, and the ability to lead a normal life is unlikely. (2)
More in dept, a sociopath is a term to describe someone with an Antisocial Personality Disorder, a mental disorder where a person shows no remorse and is often ignorant towards the feelings of others. (3) A mental health condition where one cannot engage in social norms (4), therefore tend to antagonize, manipulate or treat others with callous indifference. (3) Most people with ASPD normally cannot fulfill responsibilities related to school or any kind of relationship. The chronic nature of sociopathy (4) is what differentiates the condition from other conditions like depression, panic attacks, bipolar disorders. People with ASPD are unlikely to think they need help. There are currently no medications approved by the FDA to treat ASPD, which makes it hard to treat (5). Some traits of a person with ASPD include: (3)
- disregard of right and wrong
- persistent lying
- arrogance, sense of superiority
- recurring problems with the law, including criminal behaviour
- lack of empathy and remorse about harming others
- different with forming emotional bonds (6)
- impulsive and risky behaviour
- ignoring social normals (7)
- inability to learn from consequences
Each case of ASPD is unique, though there are common traits and signs. People with ASPD often have a total lack of empathy (4) that recognizes what they did was wrong and they don’t care or they justify it to themselves. Regardless of their actions, its best to leave diagnosis to a profession. Experts find that there are little to no treatment options for ASPD (7), offering no explanation for what caseuse this disorder or how to treat it. Sociopaths does not recognize they have a personality disorder, so it’s usual for them to seek professional help.
The idea that the frontal love plays a critical role in the social behavior is now well established (8) as it has become clear that the frontal lobe has an indispensable role in achievemental and maintenance of normal social personality. Behaviorial genetic (9) research studied the facotst that contributes to antisocial behavior. Evidence suggests the heritable influence are the most important factor in the development of antisocial behavior, around 50% of the total variance in ASPD can be explained by genetic influence. Studies have examined various aspects of sociopathic behaviour including aggression, crimal behavhior, delinquency, IQ, autonomic measures etc and have reached a conclusion that genetics and biological factors plays a huge role in sociopathy.
1. “Sociopath Definition & Meaning.” Dictionary.com, Dictionary.com, https://www.dictionary.com/browse/sociopath.
2. Haley, LaDonna. “Home.” Mental Health America of Eastern Missouri, https://www.mha-em.org/im-looking-for/mental-health-knowledge-base/conditions/127-psychopathy-vs-sociopathy#:~:text=Psychopaths%20tend%20to%20be%20more,much%20of%20a%20normal%20life.
3. “Antisocial Personality Disorder.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 10 Dec. 2019, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/antisocial-personality-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20353928.
4. “11 Signs of ASPD.” Cleveland Clinic, 21 Oct. 2021, https://health.clevelandclinic.org/sociopath-personality-disorder/.
5. Yu, Yi-Jin. “13 Horrifying Symptoms of a Real-Life Sociopath.” Prevention, Prevention, 2 Nov. 2021, https://www.prevention.com/health/mental-health/a23344963/sociopath-traits/.
6. Jewell, Tim. “Sociopath Signs and Characteristics in Men, Women, and Children.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 8 Mar. 2018, https://www.healthline.com/health/sociopath-signs#takeaway.
7. Antonio R. Damasio, MD. “A Neural Basis for Sociopathy.” Archives of General Psychiatry, JAMA Network, 1 Feb. 2000, https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/481561.
8. Tuvblad, Catherine, and Kevin M Beaver. “Genetic and Environmental Influences on Antisocial Behavior.” Journal of Criminal Justice, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2013, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3920596/.
Very interesting blog post, I learned a lot. When I think of sociopaths and psychopaths, to me they come hand-in-hand. I knew there was a difference, but I thought of them as the same thing. I did not know that sociopaths were more erratic or that there was a genetic disorder behind sociopathic tendencies. Your post made me reflect and rethink how I thought about sociopaths and psychopaths. After reading this, I feel more empathetic towards them. I cannot imagine the struggles of those with this genetic disorder, even if they cannot recognize their own struggles.
I found some links that may help you:
Best of luck!