Psychopathic personalities according to Schneider

The psychopathic personalities described by Kurt Schneider are a classic of criminology. The description of him was very valuable and is based on scientific evidence.

Psychopathic personalities according to Schneider

Last update: November 26, 2020

German physician, psychiatrist and philosopher, Kurt Schneider was a pioneer in the classification of psychopathic personalities. He is considered the main representative of the Heidelberg School, along with Karl Jaspers. His work has marked the history of psychology.

The Heidelberg School stood out for its approach to mental disorders, which placed emphasis on biological factors. Among the members of this current he played an important role Emil Kraepelinwho undertook to classify the disorders from the point of view of their manifestation and respective causes.

Kurt Schneider’s classification of psychopathic personalities had a major influence on subsequent developments in psychiatry. It leverages the idea that anyone who ambiguously deviates from the behaviors they represent is a psychopath The standard. Based on this idea, ten psychopathic personalities are distinguished.

The lack of empathy that the psychopath suffers from prevents him from feeling pleasure by observing the happiness of others. The pleasure of others causes in him are envy and makes him greedy.

-Vicente Garrido Genovés-

10 different psychopathic personalities

1. Hyperthymic

The hyperthymic person has a cheerful, active and impulsive temperament. Schneider speaks of people with a “sanguine temperament, typical of a light-blooded man”. He defines them as quarrelsome, funny and charlatan, predisposed to commit offenses, falsehoods, deceptions and small transgressions.

2. Depressed

In this personality a gloomy soul prevails, even if this characteristic is not always easy to identify, as it tends to hide his feelings. In some subjects it predominates melancholywhile in others the mood or paranoia. This personality, like the previous one, is prone to alcoholism. The paranoid depressant may show some insensitivity.

3. The insecure among psychopathic personalities

In this group there are two types: the emotional and the anancastic. The former are easily impressionable, but have difficulty expressing their emotions.

The anancastics they transform their insecurities into obsessions, very rigid and inflexible. Although these individuals appear strange and sometimes suspicious, they are rarely guilty of anything.

4. Fanatic

The fanatic person overestimates his ideas, living them with deep emotional intensity. There are i passive fanatics and wrestler fanatics. Generally, this group includes mature men and women.

They can get to commit minor crimes, driven by their own convictions, but generally they only carry out actions that disturb social life.

5. Eager for appreciation

The hallmark of these psychopaths is vanity. They need to look better in the eyes of others and themselves. They deliberately lie and believe their own lies.

They falsify their emotions and because of this they are unable to forge deep bonds or give love. They are distinguished in turn into eccentrics (who attract attention with strange actions), braggart (show off) and pseudologists (who construct well-articulated fantasies to deceive others).

6. The unstable

This psychopathic personality is easily confused with the depressed one. In this case, however, the person experiences very intense, stormy episodes of sadness or bad mood, but which then pass almost unexpectedly.

He is often addicted and can even commit crimes of passion or willful misconduct. This personality trait is typical of the very young or very old.

7. The explosive among psychopathic personalities

Explosive psychopaths have a violent temper, which goes off even for trivial reasons. In most cases it is typical of women under 50.

Usually these people see themselves involved in crime of different types; they break, disobey and are harmful to the surrounding environment. These are childhood personalities, underdeveloped and with little self-control.

8. Soulless subjects

They represent the ultimate expression of psychopathy: devoid of compassion, shame, modesty or guilt. Their characteristic feature is a poor conscience. They are usually abrupt, cold and unsociable.

They commit crimes and misdemeanors of all kinds, many of which can be brutal. However, many of them are able to live their own unscrupulousness without formally breaking the law.

9. Abulic

It is about extremely influential people, permeable to any stimulus. They are personable, reasonable but fickle and malleable. This personality commits often theft, embezzlement, fraud and prostitution.

He can commit crimes only because he is under pressure from his own group or from the surrounding context. Generally speaking, these are young people.

10. Asthenic among psychopathic personalities

There are bodily and psychic asthenicians. Both keep a watchful eye on themselves, in the first case focusing on the body and in the other on the mind. In both cases there is one feeling of estrangement in front of oneself.

Very often they come to suffer from imaginary diseases. They rarely get involved in criminal acts and are quite frequent hospital visitors.


The psychopathic personalities highlighted by Kurt Schneider constitute a classification now considered obsolete. However, several points addressed by Schneider were then used as a starting point for subsequent developments, which did not entirely reject this ranking, and rather made some changes to it.

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Psychopathic personalities according to Schneider