A psychopath is a person who is incapable of empathizing with others, takes no responsibility for their actions, and feels no remorse or guilt for hurting others. Most psychopaths are grandiose, meaning that they consider themselves superior to others. Psychopaths are characterized as being remorseless, narcissistic, usually violent, and also may appear to be a "blank slate" when in the depths of their pathology.
A sociopath is a person with a form of ASPD (Anti-Social Personality Disorder) that has developed based on their environment and/or surroundings, whereas psychopaths are born with a psychopathic personality disorder. It is vital to acknowledge the difference between ASPD and psychopathy; ASPD is characterized by antisocial behaviors, while psychopathy is a combination of behavioral traits and interpersonal traits. Psychopaths easily meet the criteria for ASPD and psychopathy, while individuals with ASPD meet the criteria for that particular condition but not psychopathy.(Its important to note that those with ASPD are not all "psycho" killers with "no emotion", there are many other contributing factors.)
Sociopaths are like psychopaths in the sense that they have a significant reduction in their capability of feeling empathy, guilt, and remorse. Unlike psychopaths, they aren't as capable of feigning emotions and are unable to maintain social relationships and hold down a steady job. The chances of them feeling love for somebody else (whether Romantically or other) is also more likely than the odds of a psychopath feeling love for somebody else, although this is possible in both cases.
Sociopathic serial killers are extremely disorganized and are much easier to catch than psychopathic serial killers, who are obsessively organized. Sociopaths are extremely prone to violent bursts of anger and cannot appear to be normal while psychopaths can keep their anger bottled up for excessive amounts of time and are masters at the art of deception. Sociopaths also differ from psychopaths in the sense that the former cannot plan ahead while the latter is a master at planning ahead.
Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) is a condition characterized by a lack of empathy and regard for other people. People who have antisocial personality disorder have little or no regard for right or wrong. They antagonize and often act insensitively or in an unfeeling manner. Individuals with this disorder may lie, engage in aggressive or violent behavior, and participate in criminal activity.
As stated before, people with this personality disorder may display no empathy towards others and no remorse or guilt. However, they can mimic emotions almost perfectly to further their own personal agendas, are very skilled in the arts of deception, and may actually appear charming, friendly, or even likable. Some psychopaths will engage in a severe antisocial behavior, such as murder (even serial or spree murder), animal cruelty, or sexual crimes. Conversely, some never do at all, and the manifestation of their pathology is limited to non-criminal behavior such as promiscuity, cheating, or lying.
There are currently no medical or medicinal treatments for psychopathy, and talk therapy only serves to further the ability to mimic emotions. There is believed to be a genetic propensity in the cases of psychopathy, as the trait appears to run in families. As a possible genetic disorder, there may never be an effective treatment. It must be observed that one possible common cause of psychopathy is abuse.
People with antisocial personality disorder:
- May begin displaying symptoms during childhood; such behaviors may include fire setting, cruelty to animals, and difficulty with authority
- Often have legal problems resulting from failures to conform to social norms and a lack of concern for the rights of others
- Often act out impulsively and fail to consider the consequences of their actions
- Display aggressiveness and irritability that often lead to physical assaults
- Have difficulty feeling empathy for others
- Display a lack of remorse for damaging behavior
- Often have poor or abusive relationships with others and are more likely to abuse or neglect their children
- Frequently lie and deceive others for personal gain
These characteristics often lead to major difficulties in many life areas. At its core, the inability to consider the thoughts, feelings, and motivations of other people can lead to harmful disregard for others.
- Glibness/superficial charm
- Grandiose sense of self-worth\High narcissism
- Pathological lying
- Lack of remorse or guilt
- Emotionally shallow
- Callous/lack of empathy
- Failure to accept responsibility for own actions
- Placing blame on others
- Need for stimulation/proneness to boredom
- Parasitic lifestyle
- Poor behavioral control
- Promiscuity/hyperactive sexual behavior or desires
- Lack of realistic, long-term goals
- Juvenile delinquency
- Early behavioral problems
- Revocation of conditional release
- Complete disregard for others (which may even include themselves, such as suicide bombers)
- Violent and dangerous behavior
Known psychopaths and sociopaths:
On Criminal Minds
- Season One
- Season Two
- Season Three
- Season Four
- Season Five
- Season Six
- Season Seven
- Season Eight
- Season Nine
- Season Ten
- Season Eleven
- Season Twelve
- Season Thirteen
- Season Fourteen
Other Fictional Psychopaths and Sociopaths
- Patrick Bateman (American Psycho)
- Norman Bates (Psycho)
- Dimentio (Super Paper Mario) is referred to by Tippi as a psychopath.
- In the BBC drama Sherlock, Sherlock Holmes is wrongfully labeled as a psychopath, to which he replies, "I am a high-functioning sociopath." His nemesis, Professor James Moriarty, on the other hand, is a clear-cut example of a psychopath and proudly admits it.
- Diogenes Pendergast (Preston-Child series of novels)
- Bill Cipher (Gravity Falls) many characters point out that he's insane and he proudly agrees with them.
- Jerome Valeska (Gotham)
- Ted Warnicky (Psycho Cop)
- Michael "Mick" Taylor (Wolf Creek)
- Frieza (Dragon Ball franchise)
- Jill Roberts (Scream franchise)
- Charles Lee Ray/Chucky (Child's Play)
- Anton Chigurh (No Country For Old Men)
- The Psycho Rangers (Power Rangers in Space)
- Although some psychopaths and sociopaths appear outwardly evil and violent, some may adhere to a moral code that prevents them from harming a particular demographic. Frank Breitkopf, for example, while being a merciless killer, would never harm children. Even though he kidnapped a group of school children, he made every effort to ensure their safe return. When he explained the situation to Jason Gideon concerning the busload of children, he told him that he would never harm them. Jason believed him, as he knew Frank had no reason or desire to harm them, only to use them as an escape route. However, Frank says this because he gets no sexual gratification out of harming children, not because he cares about their well-being. Harming them, further, would likely have jeopardized his escape and his life on the run now that the FBI knew his identity.
- George Foyet is a sociopath who displays the worst of the common traits of these individuals. He feeds off of his victims' fears and does everything in his power to impart absolute terror in his victims before he kills them. He also wants to ensure that they know he is going to kill them, an example of the narcissistic side of this disorder. If unable to (such as the victim being unconscious), he will leave a bullet beside them showing that he could have.