The terms psychopath and sociopath are often confused and used interchangeably because the two definitions are similar. However, there are differences between the two. A sociopath is a habitual offender. Today, criminologists use the term sociopath to describe repetitive offenders who do not respond to treatment or rehabilitation. Some experts believe that a sociopath is made, not born. In their view, a sociopath has not been properly socialized.
A psychopath on the other hand, may very well have been born already “broken.” Psychopathy involves a number of emotional, biological, and cognitive factors. While a great number of criminals have psychopathic tendencies, not all psychopaths are criminals.
A psychopath is conscienceless, narcissistic, manipulative, and unable to form real attachments to others. Psychopaths believe they are above the law and disregard prevailing mores. Robert Hare, a leading expert in the field, described psychopaths as “completely lacking in conscience and empathy.” He divided psychopaths into three categories: primary psychopaths, secondary psychopaths, and dissocial psychopaths.
The first category is considered a “true” psychopath because of certain identifiable biological and psychological factors that differ from the general population. A secondary psychopath offends because he or she is emotionally disturbed and possibly suffering from a severe inner conflict. The third category, dissocial psychopaths offend as a result of learned antisocial behavior from a subculture like a gang or severely dysfunctional family.Post Categories: Crime & Justice
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