What is Sociopathy?

Sociopathy is an informal term that refers to a pattern of antisocial behavior and attitudes. In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), sociopathy is most closely represented by Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Although they are often used interchangeably, the terms “sociopath” and “psychopath” have been invoked to indicate different things. According to psychologist and neuroscientist Kent A. Kiehl, “sociopath” refers to a person with antisocial tendencies that are ascribed to social or environmental factors, whereas psychopathic traits are more innate, though a chaotic or violent upbringing may tip the scales for those already predisposed to behave psychopathically.

Recent posts on Sociopathy

Live-streamed Violent Criminal Acts

Should we discourage live-streaming of violence by punishing online witnesses who do nothing? If not, do we become the bystanders?
Laura Pettler Associates

Hometown Killer

A new webcast on a serial killer trucker offers a unique case for lovers of true crime.
goodluz/Shutterstock

What Is a Psychopath?

By William Hirstein Ph.D. on June 08, 2017 in Mindmelding
The neuroscience of psychopathy has made great strides in the past fifteen years in understanding how their brains differ from those of normal people.
"Violencia" by Concha García Hernández via Creative Commons

The Truth about Abusers, Abuse, and What to Do

Abusers seek control because they're insecure, despite any outer success. Learn to spot them and what to do.
Jackmac34/Pixaby

What Makes a Liar?

By Diana Raab PhD on June 06, 2017 in The Empowerment Diary
Did you ever suspect someone was lying to you, but you didn't have evidence? This article discusses why people lie and offers a checklist in identifying a liar.

The Criminal's Use of Everyday Words

You may believe you understand what an offender is saying, but think again!

Learning to Be Hostile

By William R. Klemm Ph.D. on June 05, 2017 in Memory Medic
Pray for a return of the regard and respect for others that we used to have.

How to Identify and Avoid Toxic People, via Trump's Tweets

By Ken Page L.C.S.W. on May 06, 2017 in Finding Love
First step to a happy life: Know how to recognize toxic people and situations and do your best to stay away. Here are four warning signs.

Games Master Manipulators Play: Sandbagging

The difficulty of spotting it makes it a reliable tactic.
Darlene Lancer

Are You Being Manipulated?

Manipulation is veiled influence or hostility that may seem benign, friendly, or flattering. It can be hard to detect and know how to respond, unless you can spot the signs.

The War is ON, and Nature Will Not Lose—People Will

By Kenneth Worthy Ph.D. on March 23, 2017 in The Green Mind
Who will be the losers of Trump’s war on nature? Humans.
K. Ramsland

The Predator's Advantage

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on March 04, 2017 in Shadow Boxing
The predator's advantage involves a clear plan, with an escape route.

Divorcing and Coparenting With the Sociopath

There are ways to keep you and your children safe when divorcing a sociopath. Here are 5 things you must do in the face of a personality disordered ex.

Get Out of My Country

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on February 26, 2017 in Minority Report
"Get out of my country!" is a common fear and statement Asian, Arab, and Hispanic minorities confront time and time again in their lifetimes. And sometimes it can lead to tragedy.

The Psychological Roots of Our Current Hypocrisy Epidemic

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on February 21, 2017 in Ambigamy
We find it hard anxious work to seek the wisdom to know the difference between what to constrain and what to set free. Hypocrisy is the easy alternative to that hard work.

Why Gaslighters Accuse You of Gaslighting

Gaslighters frequently accuse their victims of manipulating, cheating, and being addicted. Why do gaslighters do this, and why does this tactic work so well?
pixabay.com/pexels.com

Why Do Americans Like Sociopaths?

By Matthew J. Edlund M.D. on February 09, 2017 in The Power of Rest
What makes sociopathy so alluring, so exciting? Nominations are open for the Madoff Prize.

StarTalk: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Game of Thrones Psychology

Neil deGrasse Tyson conducts interviews on "StarTalk" including this look at the science of "Game of Thrones" with a segment devoted to the psychology of both characters and fans.

Why Do People Follow Tyrants?

By Jean Kim M.D. on February 02, 2017 in Culture Shrink
A look at why bad leaders still succeed in gaining followers.
Google Images labeled for reuse

President Trump: Poster Boy for Rankism

President Trump gives a face to rankism.

Why Worry About Undercared for Males? Messed up Morals!

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on January 15, 2017 in Moral Landscapes
“Boys will be boys” is passed between adults when they throw up their hands and give up on socializing males. It turns out that male misconduct is a sign of undercare in babyhood.

Impressive Compulsive Disorder

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on January 12, 2017 in Ambigamy
At the extreme, there's the pathological climber, the power-hoarder who doesn't care if winning the game destroys the game board. Trump is one.

The 2016 Best and Worst Sex List

By Alexandra Katehakis MFT on December 30, 2016 in Sex, Lies & Trauma
National politics came close to displacing sexual politics this year as the most talked-about topic on therapist couches.
Wikimedia Commons. By Donald Trump. Aug. 19, 2015 (cropped). Hillary Clinton by Gage Skidmore.

Should Psychology Play Some Part in Presidential Politics?

By Stephen A. Diamond Ph.D. on December 22, 2016 in Evil Deeds
Ought we be publicly diagnosing our politicians?

Delusional or Dissident?

By Joni E Johnston Psy.D. on December 05, 2016 in The Human Equation
Can hate crimes be fueled by mental illness? Here's what the evidence says.

The 5 Types of High-Conflict People & What To Do

You know them - they're in your workplace, in your home, and now at your Thanksgiving table. People that love conflict. Here's how to handle the 5 types of high-conflict people.

5 Toxic Types of People You Need Out of Your Life

By Ralph Ryback M.D. on November 16, 2016 in The Truisms of Wellness
Toxicity presents itself in all different forms and can play out like a Greek tragedy, where actors walk out on stage wearing various masks.

Why Trump Won and What Psychology Says We Can Do About It

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on November 15, 2016 in Ambigamy
Drop the moral outrage. It's not working. They're not doing politics or morality, they're pretending to be infallible and invincible, and it's working – for now. Try this instead.

Trump & Questions about Sociopathy and Narcissism

By Robert Klitzman M.D. on October 30, 2016 in Am I My Genes?
Many people have begun calling Donald Trump not only "narcissistic", but "sociopathic". What, though, does this second term mean? A psychiatrist provides some insight.

Counter Work Behaviors

By Adrian Furnham Ph.D. on October 18, 2016 in A Sideways View
Bosses are really worried about bad behavior at work like theft, bullying etc. But why do employees sometimes misbehave?