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  1. MatrixGravity
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    MatrixGravity Senior Member

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    What.. is a Sociopath?

    Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by MatrixGravity, Mar 26, 2011.

    I don't understand. I know what a psychopath is, but I can't seem to fathom the meaning of Sociopath. What are the traits of a Sociopath? I remember watching a movie once, and the protagonist's friend brought in a case of equipment over to his house, and as he was laying the equipment on the floor he said, "My dad is a type-A sociopath." So is it somebody who hoards things?
     
  2. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is why we have wikipedia.

    Hare writes that the difference between sociopathy and psychopathy may "reflect the user's views on the origins and determinates of the disorder."
     
  3. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Walrus is almost right.

    It sort of different words for the same thing, but with different theories explaining it. psychopath stressing psychological reasons, sociopath stressing sociological reasons. The old nature or nurture debate. The debate itself is outdated, but the two words are still around.

    Today it is debated if there is any difference at all and what that difference is if there is any between the two diagnosis. But it safe to say that both are two extremely similar subsets of antisocial personalities, if not the same thing.

    So for writing purposes I would view them at the same things, the differences if any is so small it wont affect your writing.
     
  4. abelsaywell
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    abelsaywell Member

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  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    A sociopath is someone who doesn't abide by a conscience or a moral set. They are characterized by liking thrill and power games to the point where they have no problems with lying and manipulating others. If you do some research on borderline personality, sociopathism is similar to a more severe form of that. It seems to be something you're born with, and it can vary a lot in the scope of what the person will do. Sociopaths range from middle-school girls who get a kick out of manipulating their friends for the hell of it, all the way through people like Ted Bundy.

    However, that's not to say that anyone whe's a backstabbing b*tch in middle school or even anyone who kills someone is a sociopath. There's very specific psychological defintion. Also, it's not the same thing as sadism.
     
  6. Frostcat
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    Frostcat Member

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    The debate rages on as to whether Sociopathy and Psychopathy are one and the same. Proponents argue that they are essentially the same disorder with ambiguous differences. Opponents argue that while they're on the same spectrum, they are separate levels.

    If there is a difference, it would seem to be more in how the underlying issues are expressed. David T. Lykken argues that Psychopaths are temperamental by nature, whereas sociopaths are more normally tempered. Both, he says, express a lack of empathy (perhaps, even, alexithymia) and failure to internalize social norms and morality.

    In a social context, it's been my experience that people seem to believe that psychopathy is the greater evil. Sociopathy seems to be viewed as more of a lack of empathy and understanding of moral rules, but not necessarily followed with adverse behavior. Psychopathy being a lack of empathy and understanding of moral rules, tied with delinquent and criminal behavior.

    Socially speaking, there seems to be a move to vilify people with these disorders. Strictly speaking, I am unaware of any real treatment for these disorders.

    It could be said that morality can only ever be applied to beings that are capable of adhering to the concept. Under that opinion, these people need help, but could not, necessarily, be held morally accountable. Legally, yes.
     
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  7. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    why didn't you just look it up in a dictionary?... or for more detailed/clinical info, in the DSMIV?
     
  8. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Yes, the DSMIV is the ultimate psychology guide for reliable diagnosising (not that you can diagnose anyone without a PhD. College/high school psych students or people who read about it out of interest still can't diagnose without loads of official training, although it's fun to "diagnose" weird people in coffee shops and annoying people you know)
     
  9. Frostcat
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    Frostcat Member

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    You do this as well? I love to sit and watch people, making stories about their lives. Why are they wearing that particular outfit? Perhaps that odd twitch when they smile is because their hiding a dark secret!

    I like to think it keeps my creativity from dying a lonely death. :D
     
  10. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I'm not much of a people-watcher in general, but I have fun mulling over people who are creepers, annoying etc.
     
  11. MatrixGravity
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    MatrixGravity Senior Member

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    So.. my question is still unanswered. Sigh. I'll never understand what a sociopath is >_<
     
  12. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Dude. We've just been telling you. And people gave great suggestions about looking it up yourself.
     
  13. Sidewinder
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    Sidewinder Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah man -- read through the thread. I think people did a pretty good job answering your question. Also, as I said originally, you could always just read the wikipedia article. What seems to be the problem?
     
  14. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    We had a good discussion about the subject here:

    http://www.writingforums.org/showthread.php?t=39769

    There's no such thing as a "type A sociopath" and I haven't heard of the term. A "type A" person is a tense perfectionist so maybe it was a figurative term for a very exacting criminal type?

    Theodore Millon, he's the best guy for learning about personality types and in my experience the most accurate. He's, in my opinion a genius when it comes to psychology (probably why you haven't heard of him).
     
  15. Frostcat
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    Frostcat Member

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    Perhaps the character wasn't saying a Type-A-Sociopath, but a sociopath who is tense and a perfectionist?
     
  16. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    So.. my question is still unanswered. Sigh. I'll never understand what a sociopath is >_<

    matrix...
    how can you say that, when it's been amply answered/explained and you can still look it up for yourself, if you want more detail?
     
  17. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    He makes posts like this a lot........

    Dude. Take some initiative. Grab the bull by the horns. It's not that hard to type "what defines a sociopath" into the Google search bar. :)
     
  18. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Books have been written on the subject and you could spend a long time reading about the subject. Maybe if the OP asked a specific question it would be easier to answer.
     
  19. funkybassmannick
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    funkybassmannick Contributing Member

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    I don't know any sociopathic people, at least not the ones I keep in my fridge...
     
  20. MatrixGravity
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    MatrixGravity Senior Member

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    Hey it's not like I didn't read through the entire thread. My problem is I have trouble comprehending such difficult things like this. One of the users previously stated that a Sociopath is, "A sociopath is someone who doesn't abide by a conscience or a moral set. They are characterized by liking thrill and power games to the point where they have no problems with lying and manipulating others"

    I had an ex-girlfriend who did just that. She'd lie nonstop to everybody to get what she wanted and seemed to derive some sort of sadistic pleasure out of doing so. It was disgusting as well as appalling to see what she did to others. She put me through it for years and like an idiot I kept letting her back into my life. She walked all over everybody, slept with everybody, lied to everybody,etc. So would a Sociopath be the best way to describe her?
     
  21. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Re:

    and

    When people go to some trouble to answer your question, it would be a whole lot more polite to say, "I'm sorry, I still don't understand", rather than acting as if no one had answered your question.

    ChickenFreak
     
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  22. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    Some people have what's called Antisocial/Sociopathic traits meaning they don't have the full personality style. To be a true example you have to have had criminal behavior in your youth and adulthood.

    Study:

    Several years ago a researched put an ad in a newspaper requesting people with certain traits to show up at a certain place for a reward. All of said traits were sociopathic in nature.

    The twist is that all of the people who showed were business men and women! If one is of a political frame of mind, communism is at least in part proven.
     
  23. MatrixGravity
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    MatrixGravity Senior Member

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    You are right. Sorry about that.
     
  24. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Hi Matrix,

    I was the one who posted the definition you quoted -- sorry if it was confusing. :)

    As far as your ex-girlfriend goes, it could be quite likely that she has borderline personality disorder (which seems to fit more than sociopath, as I also had an unsavory person in my life with BPD and it's similar to what you've described) or maybe even sociopath disorder.

    The thing is, it's impossible to diagnose someone -- or determine whether they have a specific mental disorder, like sociopathy -- from a post on WF. They'd have to see a shrink or something because there is a very specific definition and not just any random manipulative b*tch has a disorder. A lot goes into it.
     
  25. Allegro Van Kiddo
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    Allegro Van Kiddo Contributing Member

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    You're right about diagnosis.

    You have to have lifelong fixed patterns to qualify for a personality disorder. It's notorious that someone going through a "rough patch" can exhibit signs of the worst personality problems, but that's all just about being human, not stuck in a pattern.
     

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