Psychopathy and sociopathy are two very different and real features of antisocial personality disorder. Oftentimes these two terms are used interchangeably to describe someone who may seem out of touch with reality, however, the behaviors of a psychopath differ greatly from the behaviors of a sociopath. It is also generally believed that psychopaths are predisposed, while sociopaths are products of their environment.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
What both psychopathy and sociopathy have in common is that they are both symptoms of Antisocial personality disorder (ASD). A person who has ASD is not going to feel empathy and real compassion for another person, although they may outwardly seem to. They have a problem conforming to society’s norms and are often aggressive and irritable, although a psychopath and sociopath will likely show their aggression in quite different ways.
Psychopaths have a difficult time in creating real, meaningful relationships with other people. Instead, they tend to create superficial relationships that don’t allow for closeness and can be easily manipulated in order to help the psychopath achieve his or her goals. They often don’t feel remorse for causing someone else physical or emotional pain. Despite their detachment from others and inability to feel guilt, they are typically seen as charming and their true feelings go on unknown. Not all psychopaths will ever participate in criminal activity, but if they do, they will most likely be calculated and plan out the specifics of their crime in order to keep themselves out of trouble.
Sociopaths can also feel detached from others but they have more of a chance to develop relationships with those who share similar feelings or have a personal history that is similar to their own. Unlike psychopaths, it is believed that sociopaths are not born, they are made. Their traits are likely to come out of a childhood trauma or being raised in a negative home life. On a whole, sociopaths are much more erratic than a psychopath and can be volatile if something agitates them. If they participate in criminal activity, they will most likely go about it on a whim without a plan in mind and without a thought of how they might get caught.