Do sociopaths have triggers


Sociopathy denotes one psychiatric conduct disorder and refers to people who are unable or only partially able to feel compassion, find it difficult to empathize with others and cannot weigh up the consequences of their actions. Today one rather avoids this term and speaks of the dissocial or antisocial personality disorder (APS). It is estimated that around two to four percent of people have a sociopathic disorder. This disorder often shows up in childhood or early adolescence.

As causes one suspects in addition to a hereditary predisposition, the upbringing and functional disorders in certain areas of the brain. It is believed, therefore, that sociopaths are sometimes unable to weigh the consequences of their actions because of the way their brains work. Children born with a defective forebrain are largely unable to learn the simplest rules of argument. Sociopaths were examined using imaging techniques, and it was found that the forebrain was not as active as in healthy controls, especially in the area of ​​the tonsil nucleus.

Incidentally, sociopaths show andPsychopaths often similar behavior, because they do not respect any laws or social norms, recognize other people's right to self-determination, tend to manipulative and violent behavior and show little guilt or remorse. The difference is that sociopaths do have feelings, but do not have them under control, and fear and anger in particular slip away quickly because they become nervous, feel marginalized, insulted or wrongly treated, and tend to be extremely impulsive and aggressive so that they often live on the fringes of society, have no job and no partnership. Although sociopaths want closer ties to other people, their irritability seldom allows them to build them up and maintain them over a long period of time. The causes often lie in early childhood and are the result of violent or impoverished relationships; that is, these people have never learned to regulate their emotions. Psychopaths, on the other hand, are extremely charming, chronic liars and at first glance they have great social skills, although their manipulative nature quickly enables them to gain the trust of other people, even though they lack compassion or authentic ties to other people. Psychopaths are usually well integrated into society, have a job, partners and children. Psychopathies mostly have genetic causes, because certain areas of the brain for compassion and impulse control are underdeveloped in them.

In a Swedish long-term study (Obschonka et al., 2013), around one thousand sixth graders of a year were followed for 37 years, with the focus on analyzing moral attitudes and the frequency of rule violations and violations of the law. It was found that later company founders had a significantly higher tendency towards anti-social behavior in their youth. That is, they skipped school, did not obey parents' prohibitions, or cheated on exams. As teenagers, they were more likely to use drugs than future employees, and some future entrepreneurs would take something away from business. However, the early anti-social tendencies were mainly limited to minor offenses, because the later company founders did not pursue criminal careers more often than other young people. As soon as they were in professional life, their social behavior hardly differed from that of the non-founders.

The Term sociopathy is not a clearly defined psychiatric condition, but rather refers to patterns of attitudes and behavior that are generally viewed by society as antisocial or criminal, but may be considered normal or necessary in the social setting in which they arose. Sociopaths are therefore not psychopaths, because they are basically capable of empathy, but still behave antisocially. Sociopaths also sometimes have a well-developed conscience and a normal capacity for guilt and loyalty, but their sense of right and wrong is based solely on the norms and expectations of those around them, to which they usually conform.


The following aspects are sometimes mentioned for this dissocial behavior disorder: That empathy the person concerned is disturbed because it is difficult for them to empathize with other people, i. that is, compassion is largely alien to them. Often, based on her experience, she can rationally understand other people's emotions, i. That is, the mind determined their actions and not their feelings. Such people are therefore considered unpredictable, erratic and unreliable. Affected people are rarely able to act for their actions to take responsibilitybecause if they make a mistake, it is difficult for them to admit it. As a result, social norms of assuming responsibility, rules and obligations are rejected, which makes it difficult to coexist where compliance with clear structures is necessary, for example in school or at work. Often those affected also lack insight into their wrongdoing, because they do not know what is right and what is wrong, feel innocent and show no mercy for their behavior. Although people with antisocial personality disorder can enter into new relationships, they are usually unable to do so Maintain relationship over a long period of time. People with this disease tend to be aggressive, sometimes violent, because their Frustration tolerance is much less pronounced. Affected people hardly learn from their social experiences and repeat their sociopathic behavior, even if they have already made the experience that it is undesirable in their social environment.

Differentiator from the psychopath

The psychopath's way of manipulating others and using them for his own ends is rather cool and calculating. While a sociopath tends to get loud, violates his tone, becomes insulting and loudly hurtful, the psychopath is subtle, often hurting by silence in sensitive areas or by remarks, hints and cryptic announcements.


Obschonka, M., Andersson, H., Silbereisen, R. K., & Sverke, M. (2013). Rule-breaking, crime, and entrepreneurship: A replication and extension study with 37-year longitudinal data. Journal of Vocational Behavior. DOI: 10.1016 / j.jvb.2013.06.007
Stangl, W. (2011). Genetic factors of aggression.
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