For references see below.
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The infographic above explains common traits and differences between psychopaths and sociopaths and includes some statistical data you may want to know.
Generally speaking, although the prognosis is unfavorable for both, sociopaths are more likely to respond to therapy than psychopaths.
It’s estimated that psychopaths make up about 1 percent of the general population, while sociopaths make up about 4 percent of the general population.
What they have in common:
- Both have antisocial personality disorder.
- Both lack empathy.
- Both demonstrate complete disregard for social rules and behavioral standards.
- Both fail to feel any remorse or guilt.
- Both can be violent.
Differences between psychopaths and sociopaths:
- While the origin of the psychopathic condition is likely to be in psychopath’s innate condition, sociopathy is usually a result of environment and upbringing. According to a Minnesota study of twins reared apart, psychopathy is an inherited condition in as many as 60 percent of cases. As for sociopathy, research shows that there is a significant association between early institutionalization and sociopathic behavior in later life.
- A psychopath is likely to be well-educated and have a good career while a sociopath is often unable to keep a stable job.
- Psychopaths usually display controlled behavior, while sociopaths are often impulsive and angry.
- Psychopaths can be highly manipulative, while sociopaths are typically more spontaneous.
- A typical psychopath is unable to form any personal attachments while a sociopath may get attached to a particular person or group.
- A psychopath will usually take calculated risks (e.g., fraud schemes) and minimize evidence while a sociopath tends to leave clues and evidence because of the spontaneous nature of their crimes.
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UPDATE: “Both suffer from antisocial personality disorder” is in accordance with the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) 2013 release, where psychopathy and sociopathy are both listed under antisocial personality disorders (ASPD).
- Psychopathic personality traits: heritability and genetic overlap with internalizing and externalizing psychopathology (Minnesota twin study) – link.
- A study of the etiology of sociopathic behavior.
- How to Tell a Sociopath from a Psychopath by Dr. Scott A. Bonn, Ph.D. He wrote a book on this topic called Why We Love Serial Killers: The Curious Appeal of the World’s Most Savage Murderers
- Sociopathy vs. Psychopathy by Kelly Mc Aleer, Psy.D.
- Statistical data, psychopaths – Live Science
- Statistical data, sociopaths – The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout, Ph. D.
You may also want to take this Interactive Sociopath Quiz (Antisocial Personality Disorder) and Sociopath Symptoms and Signs You Never Heard Of.
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