A new study compiled personality-trait research from around the country to determine which of the states in the U.S. are home to the most psychopaths. Perhaps not surprisingly, the study found that the area with the most psychopaths in the country is Washington, D.C.
Ryan Murphy, a research assistant professor at Southern Methodist University in Texas, who conducted the study, notes, “The presence of psychopaths in District of Columbia is consistent with the conjecture found in Murphy (2016) that psychopaths are likely to be effective in the political sphere.”
Behind the District of Columbia, the top-ranked states were Connecticut, California, and New Jersey. Despite their vast differences, two states tied for the fifth spot: New York and Wyoming.
For the study, Murphy used data on state personalities that had previously been collected in a 2013 study that estimated regional differences in personalities. The traits studied include extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness.
The study was recently published on Social Science Research Network, and has not yet been peer reviewed. Murphy explained that the rankings were just an estimate, since the data are too broad to make definite diagnoses.
Not all psychopaths are serial killers: Previous studies have shown that psychopaths actually thrive in many careers, including heath care and journalism.
According to Murphy’s research, the state with the lowest number of psychopaths of the 48 contiguous states is West Virginia.
But there was some good news for residents of the top five states — according to Murphy, the study did not establish a relationship between these results and higher homicide rates.
Here’s the full ranking:
1. District of Columbia
4. New Jersey
5. New York and Wyoming (tie)
13. South Dakota
25. North Dakota
29. Rhode Island
38. South Carolina
39. New Hampshire
45. New Mexico
46. North Carolina
49. West Virginia
Moving to West Virginia has never seemed more attractive, has it?
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Main photo: Psychopath [iStockPhoto.com]