Robert Hare, the author of Without Conscience and a professor of psychology, once said, “Know what you are dealing with. All the reading in the world cannot immunize you from the devastating effects of psychopaths. Everyone, including the experts, can be taken in, conned, and left bewildered by them.” The media has popularized the idea that all psychopaths are serial killers or rapists. However, this is not the case. Many psychopaths and sociopaths can be average people that interact normally. Moreover, psychopaths and sociopaths are often considered the same thing; they are vastly similar with minute differences. Both psychopathy and sociopathy are anti-social disorders that are difficult to treat and are associated with many myths.
Psychopathy and sociopathy are similar, but they have notable differences. A psychopath is born with behavioral differences, such as impulsivity, fearlessness, and possibly excessive anger. These differences can be caused by a chemical imbalance or brain tumor; Dr. Richard Gilles believes that about 10% of them have a physical problem. Conversely, a sociopath is born with a normal temperament; their disorder is caused by environmental stressors; for example, neglect from the parents or family, poverty, abuse, or delinquency. These stressors cause the person (usually during childhood) to emotionally detach from society. Some psychologists theorize that the person did not learn how to trust in their first relationship, which impeded him/her from ever trusting anyone. It is important to keep in mind that a small number of children who emotionally detach become sociopaths; fewer become murderers (Babiak; Fitz; Goodman).
Furthermore, psychopathy and sociopathy are one of the most dangerous mental disorders because their anti-social tendencies can lead to violence. A sociopath might be better able to stop him/herself from violence than a psychopath. Moreover, most psychopaths and sociopaths turn to crime because they feel like they do not belong in society or they do not want to follow social norms. Intelligent sociopaths are the most successful criminals; psychopaths are too impulsive to cover their tracks. Sociopaths are most likely to manipulate the system to get shorter jail sentences. Studies have shown that typical criminals tend to be more anti-social, while successful sociopaths tend to be more emotionally detached. Research shows that about 23% of the imprisoned criminals are psychopaths, while only 1% of the general public are psychopaths. Furthermore, a psychopath might not be able to maintain social relationships. A sociopath, however, could easily put on a façade to fit in with social norms. In other words, where a psychopath might be socially awkward or isolated, a sociopath might seem charming (Babiak; Fitz; Goodman; Lee).
Psychopathy and sociopathy fall under anti-social disorders because of their similarities. Psychopaths and sociopaths lack emotions like compassion, love and guilt; for this reason,...