Here is a bunch of questions doctors ask when they want to find out if you're a sociopath. They were based on researches of American psychiatrist and pioneer in the field of psychopathy Hervey M. Cleckley. In his book “The Mask of Sanity”, published in 1941 he provided the most influential clinical description of psychopathy in the twentieth century. The term “sociopath” is basically the same as “psychopath” but more recent and is a less stigmatizing term.
You can check out these questions and see if any of them apply to you. If they do, then I have bad news for you…
Are you superficially charming and intelligent?
Answer: For sociopaths, the answer to this question is yes.
Do you have delusions or other signs of irrational thinking?
A: For sociopaths, the answer is no. They're super-rational, coldly so.
Are you overly nervous, or do you have other neuroses?
A: Sociopaths are rarely nervous or anxious. They aren't scared of risk.
Are you reliable?
A: Sociopaths are unreliable.
Do you tell lies or say insincere things?
A: Sociopaths are comfortable not telling the truth when it suits them.
Do you feel remorse or shame?
A: Sociopaths rarely feel guilt.
Is your behavior anti-social for no good reason?
A: Sociopaths may have "inadequately motivated antisocial behavior," according to Cleckley.
Do you have poor judgment, and fail to learn from experience?
A: Sociopaths think they're smarter than everyone else, but they take risks the rest of us would not and don't learn from punishment.
Are you pathologically egocentric, and incapable of love?
A: Sociopaths are.
Do you generally lack the ability to react emotionally?
A: Sociopaths don't experience emotions the way the rest of us do.
Do you lack insight?
A: Sociopaths aren't self-reflective or meditative.
Are you responsive to others socially?
A: Interestingly, sociopaths often have to fake their reactions and responses to the rest of us in order to get through their days without being "spotted."
Are you a crazy party fiend?
A: Sociopaths engage in "fantastic and uninviting behavior with drink and sometimes without," Cleckley says. Thomas adds that sociopaths often crave (meaningless) sex more than the rest of us, too.
Do you make false suicide threats?
A: Yep, sociopaths are drama queens.
Is your sex life impersonal, trivial or poorly integrated?
A: Sociopaths lack the ability to love.
Have you failed to follow a life plan?
A: Sociopaths have difficulty holding down jobs. It requires long-term obligations to others.
There's no surefire way of self-diagnosing yourself as a sociopath, as sociopaths also tend to lie in tests like these.
But if you recognized yourself or others in these questions, you might want to seek professional help.
Thomas points out that many sociopaths do not want to end up in prison, or as psychotic outcasts. They can use their skills to be successful in business, in ways that less single-minded people cannot.
(They're just not your friends, is all.)