Blog #5: How are psychopaths and sociopaths genetically similar/ different? 

How are psychopaths and sociopaths genetically similar/ differernt?

After explaining what psychopaths and sociopaths are, as well as their pattern of behaviour, to answer my inquiry question, it’s time to discuss the similarity and differences, and their impact on the community.

People often misuse the word “psychopath” and “sociopath”, thinking they’re interchangeable. They often are used to describe someone with anger issues too. (1) People exhibit the symptoms of antisocial personality disorder, a type of personality disorder. Psychopaths and sociopaths are non-diagnostic conditions. Sociopaths is an unofficial term to refer to a person with ASPD, while psychopath is an informal way of describing one who displays psychopathic traits (2). While they’re both people with little to no conscience (3), they do have a significant difference: (3)

Sociopath Psychopath
make it care they don’t care about other’s feelings pretend they care
hot-headed, impulsive cold-hearted behaviour
cannot maintain regular work and family life capable of a normal life

Both personality disorders can occur due to a combination of genetics and environments (2), while there is no cure for the conditions, we know that they are somewhat genetically linked. (3).

Life as a Nonviolent Psychopath - The Atlantic

There is an overlapping construct (4) of both psychopathy and sociopathy from evolutionary, genetics, neurological and sociological perspectives. It’s generally recognized that psychopathy is a genetically inherited condition related to the (5) underdevelopment of the parts of our brain responsible for emotional regulation and impulse control. The major cause of sociopathy is both emotional and physical abuse, specifically the trauma they cause. In a 2017 (6) study, researchers found that there’s a notably different structure in the white matter in the brains of people with psychopathy and sociopathy. White matter is brian tissue made of nerve fibre that regulates communication. (7)

Psychopathy leans towards the genetic sides while sociopathy are more of a trauma cause. They’re both classified as an Antisocial Personality Disorder, but to simply put, sociopaths are made while psychopaths are born. It’s clear that they both have biological factors contributing to the cause, but it is proven that psychopathy can be inherited while sociopaths are made due to external factors. I hope you learnt something new from my posts!

Renton, C. (2021, October 29). Sociopath vs. psychopath: Characteristics and differences. Verywell Health. Retrieved December 9, 2021, from

MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Psychopath vs. sociopath: How do they differ? Medical News Today. Retrieved December 9, 2021, from

Purse, M. (2020, June 15). How sociopaths are different from psychopaths. Verywell Mind. Retrieved December 9, 2021, from

Differentiating antisocial personality disorder, psychopathy, and sociopathy: Evolutionary, genetic, neurological, and sociological considerations. Taylor & Francis. (n.d.). Retrieved December 9, 2021, from

Encyclopædia Britannica, inc. (n.d.). What’s the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath? and how do both differ from narcissists? Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved December 9, 2021, from

Jiang, W., Shi, F., Liu, H., Li, G., Ding, Z., Shen, H., Shen, C., Lee, S.-W., Hu, D., Wang, W., & Shen, D. (2017, February 22). Reduced white matter integrity in antisocial personality disorder: A diffusion tensor imaging study. Scientific reports. Retrieved December 9, 2021, from

Fletcher, J. (2021, July 31). Perceptions aside: Differences between a psychopath & sociopath? Psych Central. Retrieved December 9, 2021, from

One Reply to “Blog #5: How are psychopaths and sociopaths genetically similar/ different? ”

  1. I can’t describe how much I love your topic, Ronnie! I found your blog super interesting to read as I recently became interested to learn more about the behaviors and thinking of sociopaths/psychopaths! It was interesting seeing from your research that sociopaths are made while psychopaths are born! I’ve always thought both types of people become who they are from past trauma or after a distressing event!

    Tiffany Yao

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