Sociopath vs Psychopath – What’s The Difference?


Do you have an exalted sense of self? Are you a compulsive liar? Would you do just about anything to get what you want? If you answered “yes” to all of these questions, you might want to consult a professional who can determine if you are a sociopath or a psychopath.

Both sociopaths and psychopaths share three common traits suggested by the questions above – conceitedness, deceitfulness, and manipulation largely unchecked by moral conscience. Some experts think sociopathy and psychopathy are the same and group them together under the diagnostic term antisocial personality disorder or APD, while others argue that there are significant differences between the two mental disorders. We will examine some of these differences in this episode of The Infographics Show, “Sociopath vs. Psychopath.”

The outward behavior that sociopaths and psychopaths display can be as different as night and day. Sociopaths are more impulsive and irresponsible than psychopaths. As psychologist Scott Bonn notes, sociopaths tend to “live on the fringes of society.” They often can’t hold down a job for long and can’t settle down in one place. They may travel extensively, but they are not sightseers. If they can’t find legitimate work to pay for whatever they need, they may do shady things like lie, cheat, and steal from people along the way.

Renowned con man Charles Ponzi lived in this manner. Ponzi immigrated from Italy to America in 1903. He supposedly said, “I landed in this country with $2.50 in cash and $1 million in hopes, and those hopes never left me.” According to the New England Historical Society, $2.50 was all that he had left after “having gambled and drunk away” most of the $200 he had with him while on board the ship taking him to America. After arriving in Boston, he spent several years “working odd jobs in the Northeast.” Described by one article as an “alleged sociopath,” he led a “life of lies” that “was all about tricking rich people into investing in sham corporations.” His International Reply Coupon scheme was the one where he used money from investors to pay other investors, a form of fraud that became known as the Ponzi scheme. According to, Ponzi spent 14 years in prison for this crime. He was deported to Italy after being released from prison and ended up dying in Rio de Janeiro in 1949.

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