As for psychopaths and sociopaths, those personality types are typically viewed as logical thinkers. Psychopaths lack empathy and only show any real emotion when it has to do with selfish motives. They are self-satisfying people. Other people’s emotions are non-existent to them. As for sociopaths, many of them do not understand emotion and empathy at all. Most of their decision making is done in the logical, rational vein. Psychopaths would not understand the necessity of helping a homeless person. A sociopath would not favor the notion, but would probably do it because it seems like a normal thing to do and sociopaths like to hide in plain sight by pretending to be normal.

Sociopaths have trouble fitting into society when they are younger because they haven’t learned to navigate emotion yet. But sociopaths also usually have above average IQs and learn and adapt fast. By the time a sociopath reaches their mid-twenties, it is extremely difficult to distinguish them from anyone else. Which is why they make the best serial killers. However, only a very tiny number of sociopaths are violent. If you have ever seen the show Dexter, he was a classic sociopath with violent tendencies.

Psychopaths, however, have a greater affinity for violence and anger. Psychopaths also generally seek positions of power. Positions where they can’t be fired or dismissed. At home they will create their own power structure. They are also good at charming people and making friends, which they often do to their advantage, ignoring people who have nothing to offer them by way of a move up in rank. If you have ever seen the show The Sopranos, Tony Soprano was a psychopath.

Psychopaths, unlike sociopaths, are also good at turning their emotions off and on to suit their needs. Sociopaths lack this ability, their default state being a difficulty in understanding emotional cues. However, with just a little bit of evaluation, you can always spot a psychopath. They are too self-centered and self-absorbed to hide it well.

Dexter however. Although the character was originally modeled on the sociopath, by the end of the series, a few psychologists believe Dexter is a psychopath. However, they also agree that most psychopaths are not as intelligent, even tempered, self-aware, and calculating as Dexter, which comes from him being modeled on sociopathic behavior.

Psychopaths imitate everything, including the emotions. Or fake them. Sociopaths only imitate that which they cannot associate with. The distinctions are small, but they are necessary when telling the difference between the two.