Pub. date: 2007 | Online Pub. Date: September 25, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952637 | Print ISBN: 9780761923879 | Online ISBN: 9781412952637| Publisher:Sage Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Psychopathy and Sociopathy
Robert A. Schug & Adrian Raine
Psychopathy is a disorder of the personality—an enduring psychological disturbance beginning early in life and persisting throughout the life span. Traditionally, scholars have described psychopaths as individuals who lack empathy, loyalty, and guilt and who engage in persistent antisocial, impulsive, and irresponsible behavior. Psychopaths are not typically below average intelligence, but rather seem unable to use their intelligence to learn from mistakes. Psychopathic individuals are disproportionately more likely to commit violent crime when compared with the general population and are responsible for more than half of all serious crimes committed. Most psychopaths, however, operate on the outer limits of legality, manipulating the members and mechanisms of society to meet their own needs. Some authors have acknowledged the presence of psychopathic traits in several notable names in history: convicted killers Ted Bundy and Gary Gilmore, murderous dictators Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin, and even revered figures such as Winston Churchill, Lyndon ...