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The term "sociopath" unfortunately, has taken on so many meanings in colloquial conversation that it has lost much of its utility as a clinical term.


In general conversation, its meaning is often pejorative. Something like "My boss is a sociopath. You should see all the manipulative ad copy he approves".


This confusion is compounded by the jargonization of the term in the DSM IV, where it is presented as 'Anti Social Personality DIsorder".


A moderate clinical use of the term is still helpful. What is a sociopath ? Someone who, despite adverse consequences, continues to commit crime, but doesn't have the capacity for widespread environmental havoc and focal personal injury, that seems to be the trademark of the psychopath.


In addition, the term helps us refine the utility of observing the regular commital of crime as a sign of psychiatric illness.


A sociopath is a sort of "Thief in Law". In fact, the sociopath is either engaged in emulating a psychopath or a culture led by psychopaths. A sociopath is a follower rather than a leader, a creature of habit, and likely to be easily influenced by small increments of social status and material gain.

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