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Did Dexter get sociopaths, psychopaths and antisocial personality disorder wrong?

  • Dexter Morgan is back with is "Dark Passenger" -- his name for his sociopathic tendencies -- in Showtime's Dexter: New Blood. But, says Megan Carpenter, "even within the conceptions of sociopaths and psychopaths, it's clear that Dexter is a psychopath, not a sociopath. Sociopaths, after all, are characterized by violent, often uncontrollable outbursts, which Dexter is not; any violence they commit is impulsive, which Dexter is not. Though, like Dexter, clinicians believe people develop sociopathic traits as a result of childhood trauma (witnessing his mother's brutal murder is said to be the cause of his sociopathy), they are not generally incapable of forming strong bonds with others — they just do so more rarely than non-sociopaths. Psychopaths, on the other hand, are considered manipulative planners who are unable to feel empathy with others but who are very good at faking that they do — which, of course, describes Dexter perfectly. Their behavior is considered more of a result of genetics or brain injury than trauma — and, of course, Dexter's brother was also a serial killer, while his biological father's origins prior to the age of 30 are sketchy and not revealed in the original series."

    TOPICS: Dexter, Showtime