Two Roads Diverged in a Wood: Psychopathy vs. Sociopathy

There are definitely two separate roads when dealing with psychopathy verses sociopathy, but not enough people know this-

Generally, the terms “psychopath” and “sociopath” are used synonymously. This incorrect usage of the terms is causing their meanings to be virtually indistinguishable in conversation. While at the core they have a similar meaning, studies in brain science have shown their large differences. The term “psychopathy” was first defined in great detail by mental health expert Hervey Cleckley in 1941. In laymen’s terms, psychopathy can be defined as a person who displays a very artificial charm, is very aloof with their sex life, and exhibits no remorse for their actions, however severe those actions may be.

The next notable discovery came from psychologist Robert Hare. He developed the “Psychopathy Checklist” (or PCL-R). While the PCL-R has been questioned, it has a lot to offer. It has the ability to distinguish the neurological differences displayed in true psychopaths. Some of these include, but are not limited to reduced gray matter in the frontal lobes, abnormal asymmetry in the hippocampus, and deformations within the amygdala. The studies from this tool have contributed significantly to knowledge regarding psychopathy. Due to this in depth understanding we have of psychopathy, it is crucial that we understand and apply a separate term correctly. In a sense, the two terms can be simply described with “Nature versus Nurture.” While people with psychopathy have no morals and the inability to distinguish between right and wrong, sociopaths have a well developed conscience and strong morality, but the idea of right and wrong is not present in their culture. Essentially, sociopathy can be learned, or acquired from lesions, physical or emotional trauma, as well as dementia. Sociopaths posses a sense of understanding what is right, but they don’t connect with that understanding.

The apprehension and study of these two terms are very beneficial. They assist with the comprehension of individuals who participate in senseless murders and mass killings.



13 thoughts on “Two Roads Diverged in a Wood: Psychopathy vs. Sociopathy

  1. Great post – although that is one scary-ass picture!

  2. Hi.
    Thanks for liking my post recently.
    Your post is very interesting…. I think, I’ll stay in your blog for a while

  3. This makes sense! I wonder how parenting plays a role. The TV media distorts the facts. And because I am raising a trauma victim, I do so hope that I can ,make a positive contribution…

  4. I never knew this. Great piece!

  5. Thank you for visiting my blog recently. I appreciate it. Your blog is very interesting!! Look forward to reading more.

  6. It’s dumbfounding how little they teach you in a master’s program, vis-a-vis psychopathy vs. sociopathy. Real world experience is > all! The hard way: Unfortunately always the best way.

  7. Great post. I love this subject matter. Thanks for stopping by and liking my two simple posts. You must lead quite an interesting existence. So diversified. Bully for you. Excellent. Good concise and clear thoughts. I admire your work. I will stop by again to see where it goes.

  8. Interesting read. I’m a psychologist and well versed with the concepts, so liked this 🙂

  9. Impressive Blog and awesome analysis. I truly liked it. Keep it up. God bless

  10. Clear, precise explanation, and how about that insightful scary illustration!

  11. I remember watching the Sherlock Holmes series, ending one episode with him frantically replying to man: I’m not a psychopath I’m a high functioning sociopath, do your research. I was like wow I really can’t bring a difference up.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s