Friday, February 3, 2017

Psychopathy & Sociopathy Differences & Likenesses.

A Reader asked me what I think about the video about Psychopathy vs. Sociopathy by David Franklin, the maker of the video and the one who uploaded it to his Youtube channel here, so I decided to describe my own views on the the subjects put forth here.

David Frankling is pretty much correct about everything that he says in this video, but I do disagree with his assessment of some of the movie personalities...

The Joker - from movie 'The Dark Knight' (2008), here and here.

In this particular movie The Joker is a portrayal of a Classic Psychopath, there is nothing Sociopathic about him. But I understand it's easy to make mistakes, and as I say above, I think Franklin is right about other things he say in the video, also with regard to The Joker.

Dexter - from the TC series 'Dexter' (2006-2013), here and here.

Dexter is a little more difficult to put into a fixed category (which is often the case with psychopathic personalities in general but in some cases with movie characters in particular because they've been invented with the goal of making a certain impact on the audience, and that impact comes before the correct portrayal of personality types which means this latter aspect often gets sacrificed in favor of making good, sustainable entertainment).

I would still classify him as a psychopath who doesn't score highly in certain areas of lack of emotion and callousness.

Bateman - from movie 'American Psycho (2000), here and here [1*].

Yes, Bateman is a psychopath, there's no two ways about that. But he is also psychotic (mentally ill; he can't distinguish between reality and hallucination/fantasy). In real life a man like Bateman would be caught before it came to the point that we see in the movie, it's not possible to have corpses lying around in a small apartment within a densely populated apartment complex without others realizing that something is seriously wrong. Even more to the point, Bateman is clearly on fast track downward spiral, intellectually disintegrating, in real life he wouldn't be able to maintain the appearance of being an effective asset for very long while working and entertaining a superior position for a very high efficiency and highly competitive business company.

We know that antisocial and violently criminal psychopaths are the result of a combination of genetics and environmental aspects. But sociopathy is a result of environmental factors, generally upbringing and unfortunate circumstances in life at large. While their behavior often appears much the same way that psychopathic behavior does, sociopaths do not lack emotions, in fact part of their reason - sometimes all of their reason - for being anti-social has it's basis in emotional factors such as sense of belonging, loyalty, pride, and more. Sociopaths, unlike psychopaths, bond very effectively with other people, with their family, neighborhood, gang, ideological subculture, etc.

Sociopaths also typically thrive in tight nit groups such as crime syndicates or local street gangs where cooperation, group-work and even the willingness to sacrifice own safety for the survival of the group is a matter of personal pride and sense of honor. Sociopaths often form very deep bonds and friendships within their brotherhood of choice.

On the opposite end of the spectrum we have the psychopaths who do very badly in areas such as what I have just described....unless they're the leader of such a group or fill a function that doesn't require them to work together with others. A lot of psychopaths do very well in jobs like being a hitman and other jobs that provides a lot of space to find own ways of executing the mission, never become too repetitive and generally provides basis for lots of excitement. - When such basic conditions are met psychopaths can be uniquely beneficial also to employers working within legal boundaries (f.ex. government affiliated organizations) and will - unlike pretty much every other group or minority of people - be able to carry out their jobs under pressure that would break another person.

 You don't find many people who will withhold confidential and secret information even under torture (I happen to know this from hand experience, but I'm not alone about this, within the group of a certain minority of psychopaths I'm not even that special. I have met and heard about others).


NB. -- If you are seriously interested in the topic of psychopathy you might find it interesting to do a little research on some of the very recent findings which strongly suggests and supports the notion that psychopathy as a genetic condition does not always necessarily result in - nor does it have to result in - antisocial behavior or life style. Neuro-scientist James Fallon is among the very social non-criminal scientists who found out by accident that his brain pattern is indistinguishable from that of a psychopath. A British scientist found the same to be true about himself (he studies the brain patterns of mass murderers and found that his own brain pattern layout is identical to that of mass murderers; yet, he has never committed a murder in his life and nor does he ever had any inclination to do so).

I could add more, but it goes beyond the topic of your video and I just wanted to mention it in case you would like to learn more about it for yourself.        


[1*] You can watch the whole movie 'American Psycho' here.