Encyclopaedia Britannica

What’s the Difference Between a Psychopath and a Sociopath? And How Do Both Differ from Narcissists?

Brian Duignan

PREVIEW

Psychopath and sociopath are often used interchangeably in common speech to describe a person who is pathologically prone to criminal or violent behavior and who lacks any regard for the feelings or interests of others and any feelings of remorse or guilt for his crimes. Although the terms are also used in the scientific literature (including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM), they are not well defined there; mental health professionals instead prefer to understand both psychopathy and sociopathy as types of antisocial personality disorders (APDs), each condition being distinguished by a few characteristic features but both having many features in common....

Book Cover for "What’s the Difference Between a Psychopath and a Sociopath? And How Do Both Differ from Narcissists?"

PREVIEW

Psychopath and sociopath are often used interchangeably in common speech to describe a person who is pathologically prone to criminal or violent behavior and who lacks any regard for the feelings or interests of others and any feelings of remorse or guilt for his crimes. Although the terms are also used in the scientific literature (including the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM), they are not well defined there; mental health professionals instead prefer to understand both psychopathy and sociopathy as types of antisocial personality disorders (APDs), each condition being distinguished by a few characteristic features but both having many features in common....