Wicked Deeds

Examining criminal motives and behavior

How to Tell a Sociopath from a Psychopath

Sociopathic and psychopathic criminals think and behave very differently. The causes of the two underlying disorders are also separate and distinct. Learn about these important differences here. Read More

Emotional Outbursts

There is something wrong with this article. First you said that sociopaths and psychopaths both have "A tendency to display violent behavior and emotional outbursts."

After that you said that that psychopaths "Unlike their sociopathic counterparts, psychopathic criminals are cool, calm, and meticulous."

So which one is it? are psychopaths calm? Can they control their emotions or do they get emotional outbursts?

Emotional Outbursts

Excellent question. Both sociopaths and psychopaths can exhibit emotional outbursts but the underlying cause is different for each. Psychopaths do so out of mimicry (believing it to be appropriate) while sociopaths do so from a lack of control. Hope that helps.

Emotional Outbursts

So basically psychopaths deceive people and show them a side of their personality that does not actually exist, right?

Therefore, they are like actors who play a role, and they play it so well and make it look so genuine that people believe them. So that makes psychopathy the most dangerous of all antisocial personality disorders. Did I get that right?

Emotional Outbursts

Yes, you are essentially correct. Psychopaths excel in the art of deception and their lack of pity and remorse, and tendency toward violence, makes them particularly dangerous! Thank you for asking.

I'm a bit confused here. you

I'm a bit confused here. you say in your comment that psychopaths have a tendency towards violence, and some sources tend to suggest the same. Others however, including Robert Hare in his book "without conscience" says that only a very small percentage of psychopaths are actually violent..
Not too sure what to think at this stage..
could it be that Dr Hare's findings may be somewhat dated, or is it something else?
One thing for sure is that there are lots of contradictions in this field...

Sociopaths have true

Sociopaths have true emotional outburts because they can actually feel. psychopaths have the outbursts in order to manipulate and control others. Its actually sad that the one that actually has some feeling left in them is the one that fails harder at life.

True feelings

That is an interesting observation. Ironic indeed.

Rollercoasters and Racecars

The emotional rollercoaster ride of a sociopath is often a hindrance to himself while a Psychopaths driven uncaring personality causes pain to others for they are the ultimate social chameleons but what is really sad is that most people lack empathy and fail to see the charade for what it is.....

As A psychopath..

As a psychopath I can actually admit that we do have feelings, we just don't feel them as often. It's just we don't feel them for other people. We feel sorry for only ourselves. When we are bullied to the point of depression, we pity ourselves, yet, with psychopaths being hypocrites at times, we will not hesitate from bullying others. That's just an example, the easiest one I could think of, really.

Also, would you all please stop stereotyping psychopaths? We do have feelings at times.
You only refuse to believe it.

Its called "lack of empathy"

True: psychopaths only care about their own feelings. They can feel very, very sorry for their own self when they get caught, and not feel sorry at all (aka, experience zero remorse) for the wrong they've done or the damage they've inflicted on others.
Psychopaths actually feel entitled to do what they want, when they want to, and will do whatever it takes to get what they want; they don't care about rules and laws; psychopaths feel that they're superior beings and that rules and laws and ethics are only for the lesser creatures, the empaths or neurotypicals; they think of us as sheep, or peasants.

Instead of compassion, a psychopath is more likely to actually relish the pain and fear of others and think another's distress is amusing or sexually stimulating, instead of feeling the desire to comfort someone who is hurting or terrified; that is usually referred to as "sadism." (There is at least one study showing that the pupils of psychopaths dilate with arousal when shown images of other people in pain, being beaten up, raped, tortured, etc.)

That lack of concern for the needs and feelings of others is referred to as having a "lack of empathy"; its one of the diagnostic traits of psychopathy, narcissistic pd and antisocial pd. That's not stereotyping, unless you consider diagnostic categories in general to be stereotyping.

If confronted by witnesses providing hard evidence of the reprehensible acts they've committed and the harm they've done, a psychopath's most likely response is, "...So what? Big deal. Get over it," or "I was just following orders."

No you are generalizing when

No you are generalizing when saying,
"Instead of compassion, a psychopath is more likely to actually relish the pain and fear of others and think another's distress is amusing or sexually stimulating, instead of feeling the desire to comfort someone who is hurting or terrified; that is usually referred to as "sadism." (There is at least one study showing that the pupils of psychopaths dilate with arousal when shown images of other people in pain, being beaten up, raped, tortured, etc.)"

This is just generalizing psychopaths. Most Psychopaths will not feel sadism. What you are describing are those who have most likely felt this arousal due to nurture elements and not nature. A high functioning psychopath without a traumatic past might even experience horror or disinterest in the deeds being done. Sadism can exist among normal people without any ASPD at all.

I disagree: psychopaths do what they do because they enjoy it

I disagree, its not an overgeneralization. Psychopaths do the things they do: lie, cheat, manipulate, steal, etc., because they enjoy it and feel entitled to engage in such activities. Its all just a game to them, and they like to win.

They like hurting other people, even if its just being insulting or derogatory, or cheating/manipulating/conning someone. They like getting away with doing bad things; its called "duping delight" and it reinforces to the psychopath that they're "superior" when they get away with their atrocious behaviors.

"Sadism" is enjoying the pain or distress of others, not necessarily physical pain, or sexual pain, but emotional pain as well.


What is the difference between alexithymia and psychopathy?


That is a question better directed to a psychotherapist, although I can say that the two disorders are correlated in some ways.

Can a person be BOTH a

Can a person be BOTH a sociopath AND a psychopath?

Can a person be BOTH a sociopath AND a psychopath?

Sociopathy and psychopathy are separate disorders but there is significant overlap between them in terms of traits, which leads to the confusion. Generally speaking, a person will be categorized as one or the other. Thanks for asking.

How to Tell a Sociopath(Antisocial) from a Psychopath?

Sociopath (Antisocial Pd) is prone to Affective Violence
Psychopath (Psychopathic Pd) is prone to Predatory Violence

Can a person be BOTH a sociopath AND a psychopath?

Co-morbid behaviour is possible.

Psychopathic person with Antisocial co-morbidity (For example Heriberto Lazcano)
Antisocial person with Psychopathic co-morbidity (For example Miguel Angel Trevino Morales)

Police officers

You don't mention that psychopaths also have a need for power and control over others. Do you not agree with this or did you simply forget to mention it? Also, is there any known correlation between psychopaths and those who would commit child sex crimes or sex crimes in general?

Police Officers

Although some psychopaths do have a need for power, domination and control of others, it is not a general characteristic of the disorder. And, yes, there is a correlation between psychopathy and sexual sadism and assault. Thank you for asking.

Do you agree that sex crimes

Do you agree that sex crimes aren't about sex at all but rather having power and control over others? So if there is a proven correlation between psychopathy and sexual assault, doesn't that also prove that there exists a need for power and control in the psychopath's mental make-up? Thank you.

Correlation not causality

Actually, no, you are confusing correlation with causality. It is true that some psychopaths crave power and control and it is also true that some (a small minority) become sexual deviants. This does not mean that either phenomenon is a common trait of psychopaths, however, as is lack of empathy, for example.

power and control

The need for power and control is not a characteristic of all psychopaths

Are you sure? from my

Are you sure? from my experience the purpose of the deceit is just this...a need for a familiar unchanging emotional response from their interactions that justifies a selfish end. however subtle that need for control is there...
Although they do appear to have ranking systems based on aggressiveness where psychopathic groups will ddefer to a consistent unchanging leader so i suppose you have a point- but their need to control their victims? nthis is not in doubt is it?
it confirms their source of adulation and supply.

Our research

Feel free to peruse our documented cases. They may provide further insight into the correlation between psychopaths and sexual deviance. We believe that all psychopaths will indulge in this behavior if given an opportunity and they feel that the odds of getting caught are acceptable: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Tribute-to-survivors-of-child-sexual-assa...


As a sociopath navigating the empathsphere is difficult, lacking empathy is a form of blindness-human emotions are alien to me and mean nothing-it is hard to care about something which is nothing but a fiction. The distinction between psychopath and sociopath seems moot-if it added to a means whereby society could channel and focus such individuals it would strike me as a valid debate.

That distinction...

I've always found it hard to understand that distinction too. I think it's because I consider myself having traits from both disorders. I mean, I understand the two different definitions given to them, but I don't know if I could ever be categorized as either or.

do you feel remorse? in that

do you feel remorse?
in that question lies your answer if its no- then kindly just top yourself:)

Early presentation of sociopathy

My son presented with sociopathic behavior at age 3 in my opinion but was diagnosed adhd i refused meds until age 8 caved because he was going to be expelled from school otherwise. He's been on Concerta ever since, he is now 15. He has been charged with assault 3 times in the last year one on myself his mom. Would the writer of this blog please email me for further dicussion on this subject

Sociopathy and Nurturing

It is common during the early stages for a child to be diagnosed with ADHD; however, most would also have a diagnosis of ODD (Op-positional Defiance Disorder)and correcting the child's behavior, giving them nurturing guidance, structure, reward good behavior and hold your ground when it comes to disciplining "bad choice behavior" (avoid negative labeling such as saying to the child "your bad","naughty" ect...)can steer the child in the right direction and make the outcome of them becoming a Sociopath in adulthood. It takes a huge amount of patience and consistency on the parent... trust me, it's well worth it :)If not addressed or improved during the early stage of the child's life (age 3 to 10) the diagnosis of Conduct Disorder is typically given (pre-teen into early teen years)... behavior is much more difficult to correct (however, can be done). A diagnosis of Anti-Social Personality Disorder (Sociopath) typically is not given until after the age of 18. With all that being said I have to agree that nurturing has a huge impact on a person becoming a Sociopath... I also feel that genetics (Nature) plays some role prior to nurturing.

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Scott Bonn, Ph.D., a professor of criminology at Drew University, is an expert on criminal behavior and motivations.


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