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Antisocial Personality: Psychopathy and Sociopathy (From Psychology of Crime and Criminal Justice, P 322-346, 1979, Hans Toch, ed. -- See NCJ-118234)

NCJ Number
A I Rabin
Date Published
25 pages
This chapter discusses the characteristics, etiology, and treatment of the antisocial personality (sociopath, psychopath).
The antisocial personality has an inadequate conscience or superego, egocentricity, impulsivity, and a stunted capacity for love and emotional involvement. Some criminals have antisocial personalities, but criminality is not synonymous with the antisocial personality. The antisocial personality is also distinct from schizophrenia and neurosis. The notion that heredity is instrumental in causing the antisocial personality does not have unequivocal support in the literature. There is evidence of abnormal cortical activity in many psychopaths, but such an abnormality is associated with many other disorders as well. There is some weak evidence that psychopathy correlates with an abnormal autonomic nervous system. The major psychological hypothesis concerning the cause of psychopathy proposes that certain childhood experiences affect the course of character formation. They pertain to deprivations or abnormalities in mothering, socialization, and identification. Although treatment results with psychopaths are mixed, some practitioners recommend treatment in a secure institution with a well-trained staff and the use of group and individual therapy along with job training and social re-education. 32 references.