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Psychopath vs sociopath vs narcissist quiz

People loosely call others narcissists, but there are nine criteria, five of which are necessary to diagnose Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The following summary diagnosis is controversial:

Narcissism exists on a continuum, but someone with NPD is grandiose (sometimes only in fantasy), lacks empathy, and needs admiration from others, demonstrated by five of the following traits:

  1. A grandiose sense of self-importance and exaggerates achievements and talents

  2. Dreams of unlimited power, success, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

  3. Lacks empathy for the feelings and needs of others

  4. Requires excessive admiration

  5. Believes he or she is special and unique, and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or of high-status people (or institutions)

  6. Unreasonably expects special, favorable treatment or compliance with his or her wishes

  7. Exploits and takes advantage of others to achieve personal ends

  8. Envies others or believes they’re envious of him or her

  9. Has “an attitude” of arrogance or acts that way

There are several types of narcissists — ranging from the common “Exhibitionist Narcissist” to “Inhibited Narcissists” or closet narcissists. There are narcissists who aren’t vindictive and abusive. However, narcissists who exhibit all or most of the above characteristics intensely and/or frequently are considered malignant narcissists. Narcissists who have fewer and less severe symptoms, along with “narcissistic” people who don’t have full-blown NPD, can have insight, guilt, remorse, and an ability to emotionally connect, as well as love. (See Dealing with a Narcissist: 8 Steps to Raise Self-Esteem and Set Limits with Difficult People to determine if your loved one is capable of change and whether your relationship can improve.)

Anti-Social Personality Disorder

The labels sociopath and psychopath have often been used interchangeably. The clinical term is “Anti-Social Personality Disorder.” (APD) Like NPD, it’s long-lasting and affects all situations. Sometimes permanent, personality disorders are difficult to treat. Someone with APD must have had a conduct disorder by 15 years old, and show at least four of these traits:

  • Doesn’t sustain consistent work

    (or school)

  • Doesn’t conform to social norms,

    including unlawful behavior whether or not arrested

  • Disregards the truth

    , indicated by repeated lying, conning, using aliases, not paying debts

  • Impulsive

    or fails to plan ahead; moves around without a goal

  • Irritable and aggressive;

    e.g., fights or assaults

  • Recklessly disregards

    safety of self or others

  • Consistently irresponsible

    , as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations

  • Lacks remorse

    , and feels justified in having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another

  • Doesn’t sustain monogamy

    for more than one year

Narcissists vs Sociopaths

Malignant narcissists are the most malicious and destructive and can look like sociopaths.

Shared traits. They both can be charismatic, intelligent, charming, and successful, as well as unreliable, controlling, selfish, disingenuous, and dishonest. They share exaggerated positive self-images and a sense of entitlement. For example, when they’re abusive, they believe they’re justified and deny responsibility for their behavior. They lack insight. Although they might feign appropriate emotional reactions, this is usually insincere due to their lack of empathy and emotional responsiveness.

Distinguishing traits. While sociopaths qualify as narcissists, not all narcissists are sociopaths. What drives them differs. But the main distinction is that a sociopath is more cunning and manipulative, because their ego isn’t always at stake. In fact, they don’t have any real personality. They’re the ultimate con artists and can take on any persona that suits them. Thus, they may be harder to spot, because they’re not trying to impress you or win your approval — unless it serves their agenda. Instead of bragging, their conversation might center on you rather than on themselves, and they can even be self-effacing and apologetic if it serves their goal.

A sociopath is more calculating and might premeditate aggression in advance. A narcissist is more likely to react sooner with lies and intimidation. Narcissists often work hard to achieve success, fame, and perfection, but may exploit others along the way. In contrast, sociopaths try to swindle, steal, or exploit others financially. Although both characters may be motivated to win at all costs, narcissists are more interested in what you think of them. They need others’ admiration. This makes them dependent and codependent on others, and actually capable of being manipulated. They’re less likely to divorce their spouse than a sociopath, who might leave or vanish if they’re exposed or don’t get what they want.

Help and Treatment

If you’re in an abusive relationship, whether your partner is a narcissist or sociopath is irrelevant. You need help to set boundaries and restore your self-esteem and ability to trust yourself and others that becomes damaged in an abusive relationship.

Narcissists and sociopaths don’t usually seek treatment, unless, in the case of NPD, they’re experiencing severe stress, depression, or their partner insists. Those with APD are sometimes unwillingly court-ordered to therapy, which presents problems of trust and receptivity. Therapy should focus on helping them access their feelings and learn from the negative consequences of their behavior.

Many narcissists can improve with specific treatment, and those who have insight can benefit from psychodynamic psychotherapy. If you suspect you’re in a relationship with a narcissist, learn more about narcissistic relationships and get a checklist of narcissistic behaviors.

Everyone is unique, and people don’t always fit neatly into defined categories. Severe NPD resembles APD, and any differences are really irrelevant. If you’re being abused, get help immediately. Don’t be concerned with diagnosing; instead, heal yourself from trauma or PTSD and codependency. Whether you’re thinking of staying or leaving the relationship, neither will be easy. Focus on gaining awareness, protecting yourself, and getting help and support. Follow the steps in Dealing with a Narcissist to raise your self-esteem and set boundaries. Change and a better life is definitely possible.

©Darlene Lancer 2016

Dark Triad Personality Test

This is interactive version of the Short Dark Triad (SD-3), which measures the three traits of machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy.


The dark triad personality traits are three closely related yet independent personality traits that all have a somewhat malevolent connotation. The three traits are machiavellianism (a manipulative attitude), narcissism (excessive self-love), and psychopathy (lack of empathy). The dark triad has traditionally been assessed with three tests different tests, each of which had been developed individually. Most commonly, the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) was used as the measure of narcissism, the MACH-IV for machiavellianism and the Self-Report Psychopathy Scale (SRP) for psychopathy. Format differences between these (multiple choice versus scale rating) complicated administration and analysis. The Short Dark Triad was developed in 2011 by Delroy Paulhus and Daniel Jones to provide a more uniform assessment and also to trim down the total length.

Test procedure

The test consists of twenty seven statements that must be rated on how much you agree with them. The median time to complete is 2 minutes 27 seconds. Results are free.


Your use of this assessment must be strictly for educational purposes. It can not be taken as psychological advice of any kind. If you are interested in anything more than learning about the dark triad of personality and how it is assessed, do not take this test. Your answers will be recorded and possibly used for research and/or otherwise distributed in an anonymous fashion.


  • Jones, Daniel N., and Delroy L. Paulhus. “Introducing the short dark triad (SD3) a brief measure of dark personality traits.” Assessment 21.1 (2014): 28-41.

This online screening is not a diagnostic tool. Only a trained medical professional, like a doctor or mental health professional, can help you determine the next best steps for you.

This quiz is designed to help give you some idea about whether or not you may be a psychopath or sociopath , or have psychopathic tendencies. This quiz is not meant to diagnose psychopathy or tell you definitively whether or not you’re a psychopath . But it will give you a pretty good idea, based upon the research. For each item, indicate how much you agree or disagree with the statement. Take your time and answer truthfully for the most accurate results.

A person suffering from psychopathy is something that mental health professionals might typically diagnose as antisocial personality disorder. Someone with this kind of personality disorder typically experiences four (4) or more of the following symptoms: failure to conform to social norms; deceitfulness; impulsivity; irritability and aggressiveness; a reckless disregard for other people’s safety; consistent irresponsibility; and a lack of remorse.

Learn more: Symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder

Many people confuse psychopathy with sociopathy. These are pop psychology terms whose meaning are not well-defined by researchers, but you can understand the differences between a psychopath and a sociopath here.

Learn more: Why Do People Become Psychopaths?

Treatment of Antisocial Personality Disorder

While psychopathy doesn’t completely align with antisocial personality disorder, the two are similar enough to suggest treatment options might also be similar. You can learn more about the treatment options here.

Based on the work of associate professor Michael R. Levenson, the Psychopath Test is a scientifically-validated instrument for measuring a person’s degree of psychopathy. It is widely used to assess psychopathic traits in non-institutionalized people.

Do you have psychopathic tendencies? For each of the following items, indicate how well it applies to you below.

The IDR-PST© is the property of IDR Labs International. The original research was provided by associate professor of psychology Michael R. Levenson. The IDR-PCT utilizes Levenson’s research, but is not associated with Levenson, and is not the equivalent of the Levenson Self-Report Psychopathy Scale. The present test is in no way endorsed by, nor affiliated with, Levenson, Hare, their associates, or similar entities. No infringement is intended by the present test.

The Psychopathy Spectrum test is a widely-used index and instrument for measuring psychopathic tendencies, traits, and behaviors. The Psychopathy Spectrum test does not address all possible psychopathic orientations and does not purport to accommodate respondents who seek to trick the measure or who fall outside the normal spectrum of psychopathy. Contrary to popular belief, the Psychopathy Spectrum is not the only way of measuring psychopathy. Indeed, the output of the Psychopathy Spectrum overlaps considerably with the narcissistic, borderline, and anti-social personality styles, as found in the alternative theoretical frame utilized in psychiatric manuals, such as the DSM. To test for these styles in the DSM framework, please consult our Personality Style Test.

Although all are designed to measure psychopathic tendencies and behavior, the IDR-PST© should not be confused with other “Psychopathy Checklist Tests” as authored by alternative research organizations. However, all are professionally-designed personality tests (or inventories) meant for measuring psychopathic tendencies and behavior in relation to psychiatric dispositions in the Western world. The IDR-PST© is the property of IDR Labs International. The original research was provided by associate professor of psychology Michael R. Levenson. The authors of this online personality test are certified in the use of numerous personality tests and have worked professionally with psychometrics and personality testing. The results of our online Psychopathy Spectrum personality test are presented for educational purposes only, are provided “as-is”, and should not be construed as providing professional or certified advice of any kind. For more on our online personality test, please consult our Terms of Service.