Psychopathy and Its Social Origins

This paper addresses the question of the origin of psychopathy as a personality anomaly with a social nature. There are several views on the origin of psychopathy in humans. The point of view expressed in this paper considers psychopathy as a social phenomenon rooted in childhood and social relationships. The second, conservative, point of thought insists on the genetic, biological determinism of the origins of psychopathy and is irrelevant.

The phenomenon of psychopathy in psychology and psychiatry has long been considered an independent personality anomaly, separated from the previously identified psychopathological syndromes. By differentiating psychopathy from sociopathy and modern antisocial personality disorder, psychology was able to find a more clearly defined specificity of the appearance of psychopathy in humans. Although there has been an opinion on the innate nature of psychopathy for a long time, modern psychology also has confirmation of the acquired, social nature of the anomaly. Based on several sources, it can be concluded that the acquired nature of psychopathy as antisocial behavior, impaired empathy, and remorse is manifested in connection with the severe stress and psychosomatic trauma in childhood.

In the past, there was an opinion about the innate nature of psychopathy since there was a specific prejudice about the spiritual nature of the disorder; later, identification with schizophrenia and psychosis emerged. Modern research demonstrates the opposite attitude towards the psychopathy, analyzing, first of all, the social aspects of the anomaly ‘s appearance (Kennedy et al., 2021). It is also considered to be connected with injuries in the prepubertal and early pubertal periods of personality development.

An analysis of the biographies of criminals with psychopathy and, notably, serial killers showed specific data due to their more pronounced and exacerbated state of anomalies and personality disorders. A correlation has been observed between the manifestation of psychopathy and domestic violence and psychosomatic trauma during prepubertal age (Giacomo et al., 2021). The stories of people whose psychopathy has reached an obsessive socially dangerous state help to reveal the origin of the appearance of the anomaly in childhood, but not at birth. In most cases, severe and traumatic attitudes from parents, intense and regular domestic violence, and other issues that cause extreme stress and further trauma.

Other social experiences of a person with primarily acquired psychopathy reinforce the anomaly, leading to the more frequent manifestations of antisocial behavior. Specific complexes, fears, and other psychological problems complement psychopathy by increasing stress and leading to even more socially dangerous behavior (Farrington & Bergstrøm, 2020). Furthermore, psychopathy can develop suddenly with traumatic brain psychosomatic injuries, indicating an anomaly that complements social and biological factors (Viding & McCrory, 2019). Thus, psychopathy is an often acquired psychological anomaly and develops based on the social interactions of psychopaths and the stress that accompanies them.

The biological factor in the emergence and development of psychopathy as a personal psychological anomaly is considered by many modern psychologists as an argument in favor of the innate nature of the disorder. However, there are several problems in identifying psychopathy with other anomalies and psychological disorders such as sociopathy and schizophrenia (Kennedy et al., 2021). Although specific experts consider psychopathy synonymous with sociopathy, this leads to issues in studying the anomaly phenomenon as an independent phenomenon in psychology. Having differentiated psychopathy from other deviations and still insisting on its biological nature, psychologists who determine the genetic factor of variation ignore several social factors that refute the congenital nature of the anomaly. Psychopathy, as a still little-studied phenomenon for psychology, receives a new perspective, in support of which many cases and studies are cited. All this makes it clear that the outdated conservative view of biological determinism is ineffective in researching psychopathy and antisocial behavior in general.

Based on the preceding, it can be understood that psychopathy has a pronounced social nature, the roots of which lie in the childhood of people with the observed anomaly. Childhood traumas resulting from domestic violence and abuse by parents become the cause of the emergence and further development of psychopathy.


Giacomo, E., Santorelli, M., Pessina, R., Rucco, D., Placenti, V., Aliberti, F., Colmegna, F., & Clerici, M. (2021). Child abuse and psychopathy: Interplay, gender differences and biological correlates. World Journal of Psychiatry, 11(12), 1167–1176. Web.

Farrington, D. P., & Bergstrøm, H. (2020). Social origins of psychopathy. The Wiley International Handbook on Psychopathic Disorders and the Law, 421–447. Web.

Kennedy, T. D., Anello, E., Sardinas, S., & Woods, S. P. (2021). Introduction to psychopathy. Working with Psychopathy, 1–15. Web.

Viding, E., & McCrory, E. (2019). Towards understanding atypical social affiliation in psychopathy. The Lancet Psychiatry, 6(5), 437–444. Web.

Cite this paper

Select style


PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 18). Psychopathy and Its Social Origins. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2023, September 18). Psychopathy and Its Social Origins.

Work Cited

"Psychopathy and Its Social Origins." PsychologyWriting, 18 Sept. 2023,


PsychologyWriting. (2023) 'Psychopathy and Its Social Origins'. 18 September.


PsychologyWriting. 2023. "Psychopathy and Its Social Origins." September 18, 2023.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Psychopathy and Its Social Origins." September 18, 2023.


PsychologyWriting. "Psychopathy and Its Social Origins." September 18, 2023.