The Echoes of the Mind (117) Psychopathy


Psychopathy is characterized by callous affect and interpersonal insensitivity. ~ Kurt Gray et al

Psychopathy is a mental disorder stemming from lacking reflexive empathy, which often hinders emotive social learning. (Though psychopathy has been known for millennia, is fairly common, and there are psychology associations with bibles of mental illnesses, psychologists have yet to concur on a definition of psychopathy.)

Psychopathy is commonly an inherited disorder, though it may develop in abused children who might not have been psychopathic had they a decent child-rearing. In the instance of developing non-hereditary psychopathy, selective emotional repression becomes habitual during early childhood.

Psychopaths do not naturally feel empathy or compassion, and so are bereft of reflexive altruism. The root problem is deficient mentalizing: under-perception of other minds. Failing to appreciate that others have sensitive minds makes it easy to manipulate people without moral consideration.

Despite the handicap, psychopaths who are not sociopaths may learn and practice appropriate social behaviors; such behaviors just do not come naturally. Owing to the emotional disability, psychopaths have diminished capability for intimacy, though they may render a decent imitation of it.


Sociopathy is antisocial psychopathy. A sociopath manipulatively exploits others without moral reflection or remorse. Someone may be a psychopath but not a sociopath and vice versa. With its intrinsic approval of profit-taking without moral regard, materialist (capitalist) societies inherently cultivate sociopathy.

About one in twenty-five individuals are sociopathic, meaning, essentially, that they do not have a conscience. The high incidence of sociopathy in human society has a profound impact on the rest of us. ~ American psychologist Martha Stout