They can appear to be the guy next door. So what is a sociopath exactly? Characteristics include a persistent disregard for right and wrong, a tendency to lie and manipulate others, a lack of empathy and remorse, emotional volatility, an inflated ego, and engaging in impulsive and irresponsible behavior. Some use sociopath and psychopath interchangeably to describe a person with a more extreme case of antisocial personality disorder. It can be turned on and off.