Our understanding of sociopaths and psychopaths has been skewed and misinformed by popular culture. We hear about people who suffer from these disorders so often on crime shows and film that they’ve pervaded our collective consciousness.
Popular culture has conflated these two disorders. For instance, if you hear someone talk about the characteristics of a psychopath, it’s difficult to identify if they are talking about a sociopath or psychopath and these two disorders are different in important ways.
They both share the common feature of antisocial personality disorder, which is defined as someone who exhibits 3 of 7 symptoms or more including regularly breaking or flouting the law, constantly lying and deceiving others, and impulsivity.
There are also many differences as well. Psychology researchers generally believe that psychopaths tend to be born, so it’s likely a genetic predisposition, while sociopaths tend to be made by their environment.
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