Types of psychopaths: the aggressive, the destabilized and the reproach

Today we are talking about the three types of psychopaths. If you still do not know exactly what psychopathy is, we recommend that you consult the article “Psychopathy: What is the mind of the psychopath?” before you start reading.

Types of psychopaths: aggressive (primary), destabilized and reproach (secondary)

Psychopathy has been around for a long time and still is an enigma for psychiatry. Due to a failure in the way the sentiment processing works, immoral individuals emerge who often end up becoming middle class and seemingly normal criminals.

They pose a great challenge in terms of understanding because of the complexity involved in trying to delve into the motivations of those who seem to feel nothing. Below we will describe the different types of psychopaths categorized by Lykken.

1. Primary psychopath

It is he who best fits the definition of the term psychopath, which means “psychologically damaged”. Its main trait lies in a deviation of its temperament which is very difficult to control since childhood. Despite the dedication of parents, they are not responsible for the complex that can be treated with their offspring.

It should also be mentioned that there are topics that can be considered psychopaths and sociopaths at the same time, since in addition to possessing these capricious birth characteristics, they do not have good family support or a facilitating environment that allows them to channel their behavior. Therefore, their origin can be both humble and middle class.

2. Psychopath destabilized

While being able to enjoy normal socialization, they suffer from an organic disorder which, when manifested, imbalances them to such an extent that they become less responsible for the antisocial behavior they will experience during the episode. .

epileptic equivalents

a few brain damage (Tumors, for example) can cause abnormal and even antisocial behavior. David T. Lykken also suggests in this section the idea of ​​a “short-circuit” which would occur in the sexual mechanisms and the cerebral aggression of these individuals. He proposes that “(…) the biographies of some serial killers begin with obtaining sexual pleasure when children tortured animals and clearly suggest the existence of some sort of short circuit between the systems. Motivational factors. in the architecture of the brain “(p. 63).

Cholera type

This includes those who suffer from cholera outbreaks. It would be aimed at those who occupy the upper end of the normal distribution with respect to their predisposition to anger and its intensity. While venturing to give a taxonomy of psychopathy and its causes, the author acknowledges the little that we know about the relevance of individual differences in such issues, wondering if the anger felt by the people to whom they get angry more easily is more intense, or if more irascibility also causes a greater explosion of fury.


As with anger, there would be a tendency for more intense sexual desire. But the question also arises as to whether the frequency of arousal predicts the maximum intensity of sexual appetite; or whether the intensity of sexual arousal during intercourse will determine the number of orgasms needed to be satisfied. As was the case with members of the previous subgroup, those we would find here are also in situations of constant risk from being at the peak of the normal distribution of appetite and sexual intensity.

pathological cravings

They feel the need to satisfy illicit or morally reprehensible pleasures by incurring risky actions. Various stressful situations stimulate the release of endogenous opiates which help resist pain and also help to feel the so-called “surge”. In individuals more sensitive to crime (and especially violent), these endorphins only produce a pleasant state because there is no pain or discomfort to relieve. It is therefore easy to conclude that for them “the crime itself is their reward” (p. 65).

Hysterical type

The fundamental characteristic here lies in the duality between the indifference between the actions of these people and the remorse or anxiety they may be feeling at another time. Despite being well socialized, a young person who thinks about doing something forbidden and feels uncomfortable thinking about the consequences is also more vulnerable to temptation, because he can come to suppress this discomfort. However, this repressive action is prone to exhaustion, so in times when it is not active, this type of psychopath will feel resentment and guilt for what they may have done.

3. Secondary psychopath

Similar to primaries in terms of impulsiveness, aggression, and poor socialization, but with a tendency to guilt and withdrawal. According to the Fowles and Gray neurophysiological model, impulsive and psychopathic behavior may be due to a poor “behavioral inhibition system” (SIC) or disproportionate activation of the “behavior activation system” (SAC).

The first case would lead to primary psychopathy, while the second to secondary psychopathy. They feel overwhelmed, stressed and dissatisfied with themselves and their lives. Like those of the other group, they commit crimes driven by their impulsesBut they differ in the remorse and subsequent stress they experience, which can be even higher than that of ordinary people.

You can already visit the article in which we talk in detail about the differences between psychopathy and sociopathy

Bibliographical references:

  • Lykken, D. (1994) Antisocial Personalities. Barcelona: Herder.

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