Hollywood has made the terms “psychopath” and “sociopath” so common now, people aren’t even aware about the actual definition of the terms, let alone the characteristics that define such persona. Psychopath and Sociopath isn’t the same thing, however, they do share a handful of traits with each other.
Both the terms are designed to specify people with certain anti-social psychological disorder. The most distinctive characteristic of these kinds of people from the normal set is, they are more likely to commit a crime, as serious as murder, or break laws in general, which is not necessarily due to the lack of moral conscience, in fact they tend to be wired with different set of moral compass which makes them unable to distinguish between the right and wrong on the normal level.
Psychopathic traits are said to be natural (genetics), whereas sociopathic traits are said to develop over time as a result of physical abuse, emotional abuse or some sort of childhood trauma. Other than the character build up of psychopaths and sociopaths, the day to day activities of people with such disorders also vary extensively. Psychopaths tend to be calm, cool and meticulous, even while committing crimes, which makes them capable of building a sustainable normal life, while on the contrary, sociopaths are impulsive and their erratic behavior leaves them quite a loner, unable to maintain steady jobs and fulfill responsibilities. Despite the contradictory characteristics between Psychopaths and Sociopaths, the major similarities between the two definitely outweigh the differences between the two.
Similarities between Psychopaths and Sociopaths
- Both psychopaths and sociopaths have been found to have constant disregard for the law. In fact, they tend to have a different moral understanding towards the dos and don’ts of the normal world.
- People suffering from both sort of anti-social disorders tend to have no regard for anybody else, which often causes their act to effect others as collateral damage. Even families and friends are mere objects to them, whom they will not hesitate to use and manipulate in any way they see fit.
- Emotional detachment is the most common feature displayed in people with such characteristics. They feel no empathy towards others. People with both sorts of disorders tend to be pre-occupied with their own thoughts and have less or no time for anyone else, and also aren’t affected by the collateral damage caused due to their actions.
- They feel absolutely no remorse or guilt towards their behavior and also do not recognize fear in the normal way.
- Although, psychopaths tend to be more hidden in comparison to sociopaths, both kinds tend to display violent behavior and can rarely stay out of trouble.
Despite the similarities in the characteristics of psychopath and sociopath, it is highly unlikely that a single person could possess the attributes of both kinds of disorders. However, it is possible that a person’s attributes might be borderline between a psychopath and a sociopath. The person could be calm and cool but feel empathetic for his close ones. Likewise, a person could be impulse and erratic but might possess the ability to maintain steady jobs and long term relationship with expert disguise.
Is Joker from Batman movie psychopath or a sociopath?
The joker from the Batman movie, for instance, is someone who displays the characteristics of both kinds. He seems spontaneous with his actions, but also depicts the plans like a mastermind. He is immensely persuasive and manipulative, doing anything to fulfill his needs. Also, he feels absolutely no remorse or guilt towards the collateral damage caused due to his actions. You will find that the Joker has been put under the list of both “Fiction psychopaths and fiction sociopaths”. However, I believe that he showed the characteristics of both anti-social disorders. Since, it is highly unlikely for a single person to be labeled as both “psychopath” and “sociopath”, I think it is safe to assume the Joker as someone who consists of both traits and borderlines between being a psychopath and a sociopath.