New Study Points to States with Lots of Psychopaths

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Can you name the top five regions in the country with the most psychopaths? A new study attempts to do just that. California tops the list, second only to Connecticut.

Ever think there is something strange going on in California, Washington D.C., and other liberal states like Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey? According to a working study at Southern Methodist University released on the Social Science Research network this week, that’s where you will find the most psychopaths.

The study looks at trends in personality traits across areas.

KCRA reports:

“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,” the author writes.

The author, Ryan Murphy, combined the findings of two past papers, one that mapped distribution of the “big five” personality traits (neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion and openness to experience) across states and one that tracked which of those five personality traits most closely corresponded with psychopathy, to get the results.

The former paper found that there are three distinct clusters of personality traits in the United States — people are “friendly and conventional” in the Midwest and the South, “temperamental and uninhibited” in the Northeast and Texas, and “relaxed and creative” in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest.

Murphy’s paper operates with the assumption that psychopathy exists on a spectrum — not as a binary category — and that it correlates with a combination of low neuroticism, high extraversion, low agreeableness and low conscientiousness.

Murphy found that the greater the share of a state’s population that lives in dense urban areas, the higher the rate of psychopathy.

Other findings were more intuitive. Two things that correlate with a state with lots of psychopaths? High concentrations of journalists and lawyers.

He also found that West Virginia, Vermont, and Tennessee are among the least psychopathic states.

We’re not sure we agree about Vermont. The study has not yet been peer-reviewed.

Click to find out how to spot a psychopath