Sociopath and Psychopath, What’s the Difference?


Sociopath and Psychopath Definition

You must have often heard the terms of sociopath and psychopath, right? In the movies, a sociopath and a psychopath is always depicted as a bad person who behaves badly to others.

However, what is the difference between a sociopath and a psychopath? Sociopaths and psychopaths are actually the terms for people who suffer from sociopathic and psychopathic mental disorders.

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), sociopaths and psychopaths are two types of personality disorders that are included in antisocial personality disorders (ASPD).

Differences Between Sociopath and Psychopath

There are several points that are the differences between sociopaths and psychopaths. The following include:

1Social Skills

A sociopath generally finds it difficult to mix with society. They are indifferent and do not care about other people, so they often appear to withdraw from their surroundings.

However, they have very high egos and think of themselves as everything and other people as completely insignificant. This is what ultimately makes sociopaths able to do evil for their own interests, regardless of the rights of others.

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Meanwhile, a psychopath can usually blend in and put himself in a social environment well. This makes people around him see him as a normal person. In fact, his intelligence in attracting and manipulating often makes many people off guard.

2Arrogance and Self control

Because they really hate all things “social”, a sociopath will usually prefer to isolate themselves from their surroundings. However, they have very unstable and impulsive emotions, so sociopaths often act recklessly because they lose their temper, rather than psychopaths. In committing a crime, sociopaths tend to be spontaneous and lack detailed preparation.

In contrast to sociopaths, a psychopath has good self-control. They commit crimes in cold blood, with predatory instincts, and attack proactively. Psychopaths can control their emotions and tends to be calm, but secretly plans their crimes well and in detail.


Sociopaths generally occur due to many factors. It could be due to congenital brain defects, coupled with improper parenting, or other environmental factors such as experiences of traumatic events in the past. However, it is difficult to pinpoint one thing as the exact cause.

Meanwhile, psychopathy is generally caused by genetic imbalances and chemical reactions in the brain, so that a psychopath does not have the right frame of mind in terms of ethics and morals. The brain structure of a psychopath is also different from normal people, making it difficult to detect.

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A psychopath’s lack of fear and remorse is influenced by lesions in the part of the brain (amygdala) that is responsible for fear and judgment.

That’s why when committing crimes or sadism, a psychopath will remain calm without the slightest bit of fear. In contrast to normal people who tend to sweat cold, or have a racing heart.

In conclusion, although both mental disorders are caused by a “shorting” of the brain that affects cognitive function. However, the areas of damage are completely different.

Psychopaths are fearless; sociopaths still have fear. Psychopaths lack the ability to distinguish right or wrong; sociopaths have (but don’t care about it). The two of them are equally capable of destruction – and they both don’t care.

Those are some of the basic differences between sociopath and psychopath. If you want to know more about these two mental health disorders, you can ask a psychologist.


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