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Dudley Dowell
psychopath
sociopath
Wed, Dec 31, 2014 - 12:00 AM

Are the terms "Psychopath" and "Sociopath" obsolete?


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Bo Bennett, PhD
Host, Doctor of Social Psychology

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Bo Bennett, PhD

Host, Doctor of Social Psychology

Moderator

About Bo Bennett, PhD

I am the host of this show :) For my complete bio, please see http://www.bobennett.com.
PrintWed, Dec 31, 2014 - 12:00 AM
I have studied psychopathy and sociopathy from a social, rather than clinical perspective, but I can tell you the following: these terms were never official diagnoses in the DSM (therefore, not technically "obsolete") but they were listed as other terms used for anti-social personality disorder as early as 1980.

As far as the spectrum, these do exist on a spectrum—there is no clear delineation between a psychopath and a non psychopath, although some people clearly fit in one category or the other. The reason for this is because a lack of empathy (a main characteristic) generally exists on a spectrum—except in rare cases of damage to that part of the brain or genetic defects. Even in these cases, the inability to experience empathy is not enough to make someone a psychopath. It is a very nebulous, unofficial, diagnoses.
Bo Bennett, PhD
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