Main The Sociopath Discussion

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05:56:40 AM Feb 2nd 2015
edited by ScotieRw
There is a bit of a problem with this trope page and the page "Moral sociopath". That problem is the difference between a psychopath and a sociopath. A psychopath has no morals where as a sociopath has twisted morals and sociopathy has more to do with upbringing. I tried to add to the page explaining this difference but someone decided to delete it. I'm not sure if it's just because they thought it didn't belong or if they thought it should be on the other page and I don't want to rewrite it if it's just going to get deleted again, so does anyone have another idea as to how to address this mistake?
06:07:57 AM Feb 2nd 2015
edited by MagBas
The own bit mentioned that said difference is debated. And the terms are regularly used interchangeably.
01:09:30 PM Feb 2nd 2015
I don't think I said anything about it being debated, maybe someone else tried to add a note about it as well?

And just because two things are used interchangeably doesn't mean the difference shouldn't be known.
01:15:34 PM Feb 2nd 2015
"there is a possible but debated slight difference between the two."
03:37:20 PM Feb 2nd 2015
Oh yeah now I remember. That was a error on my part the first article I read said it was debated but every thing on the subject I've read afterwards said other wise.
06:31:54 AM Oct 17th 2015
I think this article has confused the words Psychopath and Sociopath - Psychopaths are the smart ones without remorse and are born and live that way; Sociopaths are the low-functioning nut-jobs and often a creation of a negative environment, being potentially curable (or at least, brought to a manageable state).
06:48:24 AM Oct 17th 2015
Following the wiktionary, psychopath is:

1- A person with a personality disorder indicated by a pattern of lying, cunning, manipulating, glibness, exploiting, heedlessness, arrogance, delusions of grandeur, sexual promiscuity, low self-control, disregard for morality, lack of acceptance of responsibility, callousness, and lack of empathy and remorse. Such an individual may be especially prone to violent and criminal offenses. 2- A person diagnosed with antisocial or dissocial personality disorder. 3- A person who has no moral conscience. 4- A person who perpetrates especially gruesome or bizarre violent acts.

And sociopath is:

1- A person with an antisocial personality disorder, exhibiting antisocial behavior that usually is the result of social and environmental factors in the person's early life.
02:44:05 PM Dec 15th 2013
Should we split this page up into two different ones? One being a useful notes page on the actual disorder featuring only real life professionally diagnosed examples and one being called Hollywood Sociopath where most of the fictional examples would go? I say this because the forum thread, YMMV page and headscratchers page for Disney's Frozen has been the grounds of a strong disagreement about whether a certain character qualifies and the most common claim is "he doesn't display enough poor impulse control" and that we are overstepping our bounds by supposedly diagnosing someone unprofessionally. The primary difference would be characters who are violent psychopath/sociopaths but have enough intelligence and self control to reign in the poor impulse control and mostly display the Lack of Empathy, charm and manipulative tendencies because that makes for better bad guys.
08:32:06 PM May 5th 2013
edited by
Okay I noticed there have been a lot of changes just now on this page, including deleting other people's entries according to..I'm not entirely sure why. But I think it's just not cool to delete other people's entries without good reason. Some of the changes are arbitrary, and some are just singular opinions. The fact is, this is an under-researched phenomenon that has conflicting synonyms and definitions. I think it's really nasty to delete someone else's entries and then just put your own from your own favorite show. The Vampire Diaries entries for Klaus and Katherine were valid, and removing Klaus completely and switching Katherine to "Though it isn't certain, Katherine from The Vampire Diaries may be an example. She says that she cares about others, but it's difficult to say for sure that she does" is unhelpful. If one person felt like she fits then that's more in keeping with these pages than completely changing it to adding characters that "may" fit the trope. Either it fits, is a subversion, or an aversion. If you're not sure, it should just be discussed here, hashed out, and then changed accordingly. And was there not enough space to add the new Supernatural entries that were added too? Removing Bellatrix because "neither bellatrix nor vanitas qualify, as their emotions are simply too strong. whatever pathologies they have, it isn't sociopathy" is a very shaky, subjective opinion, and feigns authority that isn't there.

Those are just some smaller changes. Can someone else go through these recent revisions and clean them up and/or reverse the entry deletions? A lot of the changes seem arbitrary, heavily subjective and removed a lot of good examples and material, seemingly at whim. Honestly, the above changes annoyed me, that someone would so clearly change someone's else's entries according to their opinion rather than new information or something a little more objective on a trope that's already so complicated, so I don't want to do the revision myself and create something biased and even more arbitrary as a result. It really comes off like someone imposing Opinion Myopia, and according to a very shaky, subjective, personal definition of this trope. Full overhauls should be done with more caution than was used here, regardless of how well-versed the user(s) thought they were in the trope.
01:57:35 AM Jun 4th 2013
This is a fair point: when I edited this article I'd been on an obsessive kick, reading through all the research into the disorder I could find, and wanted to update this page with a more comprehensive list of traits as defined by the Psychopathy Checklist. So it was "at whim", so to speak, but it wasn't arbitrary.

That said, I deleted those examples because I think they fit the trope far too vaguely. My reasoning was that, if The Sociopath is just going to be a list of people who do bad things with any sort of relish, the trope loses all meaning as an analytical tool because it's just too broad.

However, I see now that I was too hasty. I don't think that examples are as subjective as all that, as this isn't actually a subjective trope. But I should have discussed it here before deleting anything. So for that I apologize.

I haven't been on this site for a long time, and I forgot the correct etiquette.
12:24:38 PM Feb 22nd 2013
edited by Morgenthaler
These examples are Zero Context Examples, and need more details.

This is a form of Weblinks Are Not Examples, and needs details.

  • MAG ISA — All the villains of MAG-ISA are this personality type. The higher up the ladder you go, the more evil you are. (1) (2)
07:20:09 PM Feb 2nd 2013
Why exactly is Villain Sue referenced?
05:38:52 PM Jul 14th 2012
Is it possible for The Sociopath to not be a Complete Monster?
12:24:44 AM Jul 15th 2012
Yes. The character can fail on either or both of the first two CM criteria.
12:47:36 AM Sep 16th 2011
Why is that the main page states that female sociopaths are rare in Real Life? I've never heard that.
11:52:49 AM Sep 30th 2011
edited by MrMorley
Statistically the majority of people diagnosed with ASPD are male. Quoth wikipedia: "The prevalence of this disorder is 3% in males and 1% from females, as stated in the DSM IV-TR."

Of course there are psychiatrists/psychologists who say that there may be as many ASPD females as males, it's just they are just a lot less likely to be diagnosed as such for a variety of reasons...
01:21:12 PM Jun 4th 2011
Should we allow examples where the character has sociopathic tendencies due to going crazy or developing them later in life? It seems that, as hard as it is for us emotional humans to accept, true sociopaths are always born with it.
09:58:01 PM Jun 5th 2011
That's actually still up in the air. Sociopathy is sometimes defined as inborn and sometimes as learned behavior. Ask a different doctor, get a different opinion.
06:02:13 AM Feb 2nd 2015
Scoiopathy is an upbringing thing while psychopathy is from birth, how ever you don't just snap and become a either.
04:01:11 PM Sep 16th 2010
If a character has empathy towards innocents and children and doesn't harm innocents, but is also a Blood Knight Torture Technician who sadistically enjoys fighting, torturing, and killing Complete Monsters without feeling any guilt and is a Jerk with a Heart of Gold Deadpan Snarker towards innocents, does he still count as this trope or as a psuedo-sociopath?.
04:17:41 PM Sep 16th 2010
That's more of a Heroic Sociopath.
06:46:55 PM Sep 19th 2010
edited by Kersey475
Yes, but do you still think that the character I described is a sociopath?

BTW, you mean the original definition (over-the-top Anti-Hero Played for Laughs) or the Trope Decay definition (any over-the-top Anti-Hero)?
03:10:53 AM Jan 7th 2011
No. A character like that isn't a sociopath. A sociopath couldn't give a fuck less about children and innocents. All they see are props, tools, toys, and obstacles.
01:11:45 PM Mar 11th 2011
Exactly. The key trait to identifying a sociopath is Lack of Empathy. You can have one or two of the traits on the "sociopathy criteria" list without actually being a sociopath, as long as one of those traits isn't "lack of empathy". You can be charismatic and prone to boredom, but if you are still capable of feeling empathy, you are not a sociopath.
04:56:51 AM Jul 19th 2011
It seems like a character like Gregory House can show a Lack of Empathy, but still not be a sociopath/psychopath. It also depends on your criteria. ASPD in the DSM-IV can be fulfilled by meeting ANY 3 criteria out of 7, none of which are lack of empathy. Lack of empathy is one of the criteria on the Hare Psychopathy Checklist.

Considering that this site is about culture and not psychiatric manuals, it seems like calling someone a sociopath who doesn't meet the criteria is valid if a lay person would consider such a person to be a sociopath.
02:46:24 PM Dec 15th 2013
House doesn't actually lack empathy though he just hides his cause he's a dick.
01:39:18 PM Aug 28th 2010
Sick Boy from Trainspotting also seems sociopathic, but is outshadowed by Begbie.
09:16:06 AM Jul 20th 2010
Um, I'm fairly new to this site, but aren't most the characters on this page (and most of the identifying signs) already present on the Lack of Empathy page? Or is that page for people who actually have ASPD, while this page is for those who just act like it?
09:34:36 PM Jun 25th 2014
I'm too lazy to look into all the details, but I would assume that Lack of Empathy is a type of Jerkass that isn't necessarily a villain while Sociopathy is an actual disorder that is very likely to be an extreme case of evil for it's highly anti-social status.
07:49:25 AM May 26th 2010
Shouldn't Moral Myopia and/or It's All About Me belong to the list of symptoms too?
02:39:22 PM Jul 1st 2013
Moral Myopia does not belong; that's about very biased morals, these persons have none at all.
04:43:34 AM May 23rd 2014
Moral Myopia is about caring about some people than others; its not about morals, and sociopaths can indeed have morals- see Moral Sociopathy. Sociopaths can care about others in very selfish ways and can definitely fall into Moral Myopia (especially if the subject of the Myopia is themselves).
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