|DEFINITION OF A SOCIOPATH
From: KEEBU Apr-19, 2003 - PURGATORY CHAT
The question is, is Scott a sociopath?
I think it's high time we explore the behavior traits of sociopaths, since this is a crime
forum. I simply went to the nearest article on sociopathic traits; the link is below..
..'Sociopaths are very egocentric individuals that lack a sense of personal responsibility and
morality. They may be impulsive, manipulative, reckless, quarrelsome, and consistent liars.
Sociopaths are usually unable to sustain relationships and have a total lack of remorse for their
actions AND may also be very prone to aggressive, hostile, and sometimes violent behavior.
This aggression may or may not lead to criminal behavior and often takes the form
of domestic violence. Along with these other actions, sociopaths often engage
in self-destructive behavior such as alcoholism or addiction to drugs.
This, of course, usually worsens many aspects of the sociopathic behavior. Despite these
previous symptoms, the sociopath may be an excellent actor, always appearing charming,
calm, and collected. They usually have a normal or above normal intelligence level and
good verbal fluency. It is these qualities that sometimes place he sociopath in leadership
positions within their social groups and often make it hard to spot their "black side".
There are three main categories of psychopaths:
•Primary psychopaths/sociopaths are considered to be the true sociopath. This is
the sociopath who appears to be very normal, calm, and educated on the exterior, but
on the interior, they are incapable of experiencing any form of emotional content.
They rarely come in contact with the law, but when they do, they are often able to talk
themselves out of trouble using their verbal skills. Despite this verbal eloquence,
the words often have no real emotional meaning for the sociopath. When the
primary sociopath does commit crimes, they are usually petty, meaningless, and
without logic, such as daredevil acts and disturbing the peace.
It is believed that a constant state of boredom and the lack of ability to truly feel deep emotion
are what lead to this random misbehavior or thrill seeking. This form of psychopaths "can
basically be thought of as emotional shells;the surface is all there, but there is no substance".
•The second category is the secondary, or neurotic, psychopath/sociopath. This type
of individual has much more severe and noticeable emotional problems. According to
Dr. Curt Bartol, they are sometimes referred to as "acting-out neurotics". This
individual displays much greater antisocial behavior and is much more likely to come
into contact with the law (repeatedly). They are at a much greater risk of imprisonment.
•The third type of psychopath/sociopath is the dyssocial psychopath.
"Dyssocial psychopaths can be said to have come about primarily due
to Bandura's Social Learning Theory and his model for observational
learning. They were effectively made antisocial by their environment" .
This category of sociopathy is much rarer and therefore has been researched much less.
The causes of this sociopathic disorder have been narrowed to several factors
through research. One of the primary causes of sociopathic behavior is believed
to be neurological abnormalities mainly in the frontal lobe of the brain.
This area of the brain is responsible for "self-control, planning, judgment, the balance of individual
versus social needs, and many other essential functions underlying effective social intercourse".
This area is also related to fear conditioning. The abnormal anatomy or chemical
activity within this area of the brain may be caused by abnormal growth (possibly
genetic), brain disease, or injury. This theory has been supported by much
research using positron emission tomography (PET) which visually
shows the metabolic activity of neurons within the brain.
A second factor believed to be partially responsible for the sociopathic disorder in
some cases is the primary socialization of individuals within dysfunctional
environments, such as abusive, poorly educated, or poverty stricken homes.
For years, this was thought to be the primary cause of sociopathy. But as knowledge has
increased in the area of neuroscience, it has been realized that this is possibly only a
secondary cause. Therefore, it can be said that the type of brain thesociopath was born with
and/or the environmentin which it wasnourished forms the sociopath (Andreasen, 1984).
An estimated 3% of all adult males have this sociopathic disorder. (The antisocial
personality disorder is uncommon among women.) Only a small fraction of this
percentage actually develop into violent criminals. Most sociopathic individuals
are able to control their disorder within the boundaries of social tolerability.
They are considered only 'socially obnoxious' or hateful personalities, and every one of us
knows of someone who fits the description. Corrupt and callous politicians, social or career
fast climbers, authoritarian leaders, abusing and aggressive persons, etc., are among them.
A common characteristic is that they engage systematically in deception and manipulation of
others for personal gain. In fact, many successful and adapted non-violent sociopaths can be
found in our society. An NIMH epidemiologic study reported that only 47% of those who met the
SPD criteria had a significant arrest record. The most relevant events for these persons occur
in the area of job problems, domestic violence, traffic offenses,and severe marital difficulties.
More easily recognized and studied are the sociopathic individuals with histories of violent
criminal behavior. As much as 15-25% of society's inmate population show many traits
of this disorder. It is these incarcerated individuals as well as individuals in mental
institutions on which most of the research on antisocial personality disorder is based.
The sociopath could be the intelligent and very successful businessman that goes
home each night and abuses his family. He could be the temperamental man
that visits the bar regularly and who often gets into brawls.
The sociopath could be the prison inmate who was just released last month, and who is already
back in prison or the hateful man that lives on the block that no one seems to be able to get
along with. He could be that career-climbing businessman or politician that doesn't care
who they destroy in the process. It could even be that man that can't seem to get enough of
adrenaline-pumping adventures like bungee jumping, skydiving, and motorcycle racing.
Or, he could be that quiet, polite man that no one ever suspected was a serial killer.
The terms sociopath or psychopath often bring to mind images of sadistically
violent individuals such as Ted Bundy or the fictional character of Dr. Hannibal
"The Cannibal" Lecter in the book and movie The Silence of the Lambs. But I
believe the defining characteristic traits of sociopaths actually cover a much
broader spectrum of individuals than most of us would ever imagine.
The sociopath is that truly self-absorbed individual with no conscience or feeling for
others and for whom social rules have no meaning. I believe that most all of us
know or have come in contact with sociopathic individuals without even knowing it."
So there you have it. Any thoughts?
WELL, MANY OF THE POSTERS DID HAVE THOUGHTS ON THIS
BUT KAT & DOCS4U SAID IT BEST
From: _KAT Apr-19, 2003
Keebu, Thanks for starting this thread. I think that Scott is a sociopath.
The key symptom is sociopathy is lack of a conscience. This fits with a lot of things
people have noticed about Scott. Things that alerted me from the beginning were:
His seeming calmness in the face of very traumatic events, such as his smiling
relaxed behavior at the vigil. His ability to "schmooze" during televised interviews,
but when I listened to what he was really saying, it made no sense. For instance,
when Diane Sawyer pressed him about whether or not he had taken a polygraph,
he put on his "act." He leaned close, lowered his voice, and spoke in a kind of
intimate way toward her. What he said was "It wouldn't be appropriate for me to talk
about that, wouldn't be appropriate..." He was attempting to seduce her (and viewers)
away from the content of the question and his answer! He *sounded* calm and
soothing, but his words made no sense. Why would it be inappropriate for him to
answer the question about whether or not he had taken a polygraph? It was
nonsense, and he knew it, so he attempted to distract the listener with his
behavior. His behavior is consistently inappropriate for the situation. As we've
said before, Scott doesn't have real emotions and a conscience like normal
people. He has to fake these things, and he often gets them wrong. As far as I
can tell from reading various things, that is a definition of a sociopath.
Here's a snip from an article that doesn't specifically describe sociopaths, but
answers the question about how a supposedly "perfect marriage" might be
different in reality. See the last comment. That fits Scott to a "T." Except that his
answers were never plausible! Is there a category called "Ineffective Sociopath?"
link: CLICK HERE
It's a common belief that for a man like Scott Peterson -- young, successful, handsome --
to kill his wife, he must have just "snapped.'' But experts say that's almost never the case.
"We create this fantasy of the volcanic, unpredictable, psychopathic explosion,''
said Gelles, who has written 23 books on intimate partner violence and child abuse.
"The real psychopathy is not the snapping, it's the ability to maintain a calm
presence and to give plausible explanations to implausible events.''
DOCS4U Apr-19, 2003
I was posting on another board when a mental health professional had posted
a list and a summary of the SNDP-Somatic Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Seems to me, in reading his/her summary, that Scott Peterson fits the profile.
Basically, the summary stated that the disorder is sexual in nature. IOW, in order to feel all the
things that a person with this (or another similar) disorder wants/needs to feel, they must
engage in sex. The sex makes them feel grandiose and fills their need for adulation and
respect. This disorder, SNDP, differs from NPD- the umbrella catagory- in that it is tinged
more with Borderline Personality traits because the the fear of being abandoned is not
the primary reason for the promiscuity (as it is with the NPD).
Those falling in the NPD catagory treat others as objects. In times when they feel
threatened, others close to them can become the target of anger, wrath, rage
and transformed aggression. The professional explained that people with this
illness are no more or less violent than anyone else, except that when their source
of admiration (the lover) is threatened to be removed from their life. Because
they have such a deep need for this respect and adulation, they may go off the
deep end if there is a threat that their source (of admiration/sex) will be removed.
Stating this and comparing it to Scott Peterson's life, Laci may not have been
able to satisfy Scott due to her pregnancy. He may have felt neglected and in
turn looked for another woman (Amber and others?). Laci may have come
across proof of his affair and that is when he went "off the deep end".
I agree that you are on target with SP's sociopathic traits but I think it's more than just that. Having
read about the SNPD and other subcatagories of this type of personality, I find it fits SP to a tee.
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