Roughly one in every 100 men (or 300 women) is a psychopath. Do you know one?
In the public imagination, a "psychopath" is a violent serial killer or an over-the-top movie villain, as one sometimes might suspect Frank to be. He is highly impulsive and has a callous disregard for the well-being of others that can be disquieting. But he is just as likely to be a next-door neighbor, a doctor, or an actor on TV—essentially no different from anyone else who holds these roles, except that Frank lacks the nagging little voice which so profoundly influences most of our lives. Frank has no conscience. And as much as we would like to think that people like him are a rare aberration, safely locked away, the truth is that they are more common than most would ever guess.

Psychopathology is explained in frightening detail at Damn Interesting. (Incidently, the "Frank" referred to in the quote was not pictured. This picture is of psychopath and serial killer Ted Bundy.) Link

There are so many psychopaths, pedophiles, hebephiles (post-pubescent attraction), etc. out there because it's due to genetic variation.

It's when they act on these predilections that it's wrong. They become murderers, serial killers, child molesters, etc.

But most of them obey societal laws, but they still have those qualities. Must be hard to control yourself, I think.
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Just from my own research and observation, I would say that if every 100th man is a flat-out psychopath, than roughly every 20th man is a sociopath.
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@Dan Smith
Take a hammer ....(I'll wait) and smash it really really hard into your knee ....(come on, don't be a wuss, this is science in action).

Sure it'll hurt, but that's not the point. The point is that feeling you get for the next several days, that "why oh why oh why did I do that" feeling - that's remorse.

Tada! You're not the big psychopath you hoped you were.
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I Wonder what percentage of the population believe in faith based organisations such as psychiatry, religion, astrology.....? The word psychopath is just jargon from a faith based organisation, I prefer to simply call these types of people what they are, "arseholes", forget the silly jargon crap.
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Naw, you don't get it, psychopaths are supposed to be self absorbed, of course I would regret hurting myself badly. I care about my own well being...but I could slam a random stranger in the knee with a hammer and theoretically not feel bad about it.
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This definition is such bullshit. Dam Smith will undoubtedly agree that the reason he does not rape and pillage is that there is no up side. The strangely sick people who do are driven to their compulsion. Their success is because they are psychopathic.

Dan, let's hope you and I never clash. Your disregard for others is countered by my never ending drive to save the world. One of us will lose. Only you and I know what that will mean in the end.
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by these definitions, Cheney is most certainly a psychopath. so are most everyone he and Bush hire. hell, so are most CEOs probably, i'd think it would be almost a prerequisite for the job.
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@Alex: From what I remember as a psych undergrad (aaaages ago), the terms 'psychopath' and 'sociopath' are often used fairly interchangeably. Actually, looking at the Wikipedia article on it, they point out that that's even the case in the DSM-IV (where they're both viewed as a type of Antisocial Personality Disorder), although it also says that some professionals view psychopathy as more likely hereditary, while the sociopath is more likely 'made' through environmental factors. Digging around a little more, this wisegeek article claims that sociopaths are less organized, less rational, and less able to 'blend in' with society than are psychopaths ...

It's kind of interesting to look for info on the difference between the two, I'd not realized before how inconsistent and indistinct that difference actually was!
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If this stuff fascinates you, pick up the first season of Dexter. It's a Showtime show where the protagonist is a psychopathic serial killer. Watch out though...he's charming. You really grow to like him.
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I once worked for a company that hired a sociopath as a vice president. He was exactly the kind of guy you'd want on your side, fighting for the company- totally ruthless and aggressive and the company did great. Then he invented a web of lies about me and abandoned the four of us who made up his core team to focus entirely on this new guy, who was like his puppy. I quit as soon as I got another job. Suddenly weird stories made sense, the multiple wives, the kids he didn't know, the companies he had a grudge against. The guy is still a sociopath, but burned too many bridges to be successful in the internet age where his reputation has been besmirched on f*****, etc.

Total Libertarian, of course.
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People who found both the Neatorama post, and the Damn Interesting post... interesting, may also want to look up "malignant narcissism".
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Sociopathy and Psychopathy are both different branches of Antisocial Personality disorder. They look very similar from a distance and tend to get mixed up.

* A Psychopath is someone who has no morals at all.
* A Sociopath is someone who has morals, but those morals are twisted.

Hitler is an example of a Sociopath.
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