Why on Earth would we talk about a Social Science Research Center study like this? The real question is… how could we not?
Reported at QZ, this new study by Southern Methodist University Professor Ryan Murphy correlated a bunch of data which I can’t make heads or tails of and figured out how psychopathic the residents of every state are. He was looking at the “levels of big five personality traits” (extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience) in each state. These apparently correlate with other traits which identify psychopathic tendencies. To put it mildly, the news was not good for the blue states.
Sometimes, it can feel like there are psychopaths everywhere. If you live in the United States, it’s now possible to move to less psychopathic environs, thanks to new research ranking 48 contiguous states by psychopathy.
Connecticut wins the dubious award of most psychopathic state in the US, followed by California in second, and New Jersey third. New York and Wyoming tie for joint fourth place, followed by Maine. The least psychopathic state is West Virginia, followed by Vermont, Tennessee, North Carolina, and New Mexico…
Earlier research shows that psychopathy is composed of disinhibition, boldness, and meanness, and a forthcoming paper shows that these characteristics can be translated into the big five traits.
I’m still not sure how things like “meanness” and disinhibition translate over to characteristics typical of psychopaths, but then, I only lasted for a few classes in pre-med. It’s still interesting to note that while the five states with the highest psychopath rating were almost entirely blue states in the northeast (plus California), the least psychopathic ones were in red (or at least reddish purple) areas. Who would have guessed that West Virginia would be the best location, particularly if you’ve ever watched the movies based in that region?
Oh, there was one more kicker to the study results. You might have been wondering where the District of Columbia landed. The answer is that it’s not on the list because it rang up a psychopath rating that was off the charts but was disqualified due to mitigating circumstances. (Emphasis added)
Murphy also included the District of Columbia in his research, and found it had a psychopathy level far higher than any other state. But this finding is an outlier, as Murphy notes, as it’s an entirely urban area and cannot be fairly compared with larger, more geographically diverse, US states. That said, as Murphy 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.”
So if you’re looking for the highest concentration of psychopaths in the country, head to Washington, D.C. Apparently they have more of them than you can shake a stick at and the majority are working “in the political sphere.”
C’mon, man. You’re not going to sit there and tell me you’re surprised.