The condition of psychopathy has intrigued psychologists for years. A complicated and mysterious personality disorder, psychopathy invokes poor impulse control, the rejection of moral social norms, and often violent and aggressive behaviour. With close symptoms to that of a similar personality disorder known as sociopathy, the relation between these two conditions is a major topic of interest.
Here are some characteristics of both :
- Developed in the first years of life. It is a product of the interaction between biology/nature (brain connections and genes) and environment (abuse, abandonment).
- More dangerous throughout life, tends to decrease in middle age. Does not respond to punishment, fear, stress, or disapproval.
- Is cool and calculating. Can suppress antisocial impulses most of the time, but only if it suits him/her.
- Lack emotional empathy. Can mirror and display emotion outwardly, but does not feel it inwardly. With cognitive empathy, can understand, but not feel, other people’s emotion.
- Made that way. Is mainly a product of environment, especially severe abuse, usually before puberty. Genetics play less of a role.
- Less dangerous over long periods of time. Is vulnerable to stress, anxiety, and shame like a normal person.
- Is an “angry loser”. Responds to bad experiences by getting even with the world or with a category of person, e.g. women of a certain type.
- Has empathy and near normal temperament. Is capable of feeling the emotions of others, and in having and feeling emotions.