Sociopathy intrigues so many, perhaps because it's so imperceptible.
The notion that an unempathetic streak could lay dormant in a close friend, or even in oneself, is perhaps the driving factor behind the interest into the condition.
Brown says predators are expert aggressors, who seek to test your limits with charm and seemingly innocuous microaggressions.
For example; they might sit in your chair at work, to see how you'll react, or ask you to take on an additional workload to help them without giving you credit for it.
If you're willing to let this slide, they may start making these minute concessions larger and larger.
If you suspect you are being tested by a predator, the key is to get to the bottom of what they want as quickly as possible.
If they can’t give you a straight answer or try to pass their behaviour off as a joke, you have successfully identified a predator.
Think of how many controlling relationships start with very simple tests.
It’s just that we don’t realise they are tests.
It may be as simple as, 'Come with me, your friend will get home OK'.
Your gut tells you that this is out of line, but you go along with it anyway.
This is far more sinister than acting violently in reaction to something, as it's building up to moments of violence and harm, in a premeditated fashion.
It's also difficult to recognise this behaviour in yourself - but a large ego might be a starting point.
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), sociopaths have a very high opinion of themselves:
Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem.