Psychopath vs. sociopath

While there is some debate in the world of psychology, clinically the terms psychopath (or its abbreviation psycho) and sociopath are relatively interchangeable. Both refer to a clinical diagnosis of someone without guilt, who also has violent tendencies and disregard for others and laws.

The slang term psycho is used as an insult meaning something or someone is generally crazy.

Examples

Psychopath-sociopaths are neither wise nor conscientious, because they lack a capacity for empathy and possess no emotional depth. They may be cognitively lucid, say experts who study this pathology, but they are morally insane. [The Globe and Mail]

Gardai have identified a new psychopathic killer on Ireland’s gangland scene who riddled a criminal victim with bullets from a machine gun after breaking his teeth in with a hammer in a grotesque torture session. [Irish Independent]

A sociopath is not the same thing as a jerk. In fact, the person you know who strikes you as a jerk is probably not a sociopath because it’s not in the best interests of sociopaths to let you know what kind of people they are and sociopaths are usually pretty good about acting in their own best interests. [WNPR]

Thirty-two-year-old, Belfast-born Jamie Dornan has been busy. Over the last year he’s played Abe Goffe, the young rogue determined to make England a republic in Channel 4’s 17th century drama New Worlds, earned a Bafta nomination for his role as psycho killer Paul Spector in the BBC hit series The Fall, and filmed Fifty Shades of Grey, assuming the role of bondage-crazed business magnate Christian Grey. [GQ]

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