A recently released study examined the number of psychopaths in the 50 states and Washington, D.C., and found that D.C. has the most psychopaths of any area.
People always joke that you need a certain personality to make it in Washington, D.C. Well, apparently that personality is psychopathy. A recent study from Ryan H. Murphy of Southern Methodist University ranked Washington, D.C., number one for psychopaths.
Psychopaths are generally believed to have an anti-social personality disorder where they can appear charming and normal but struggle with a lack of conscience and empathy. While not all psychopaths commit crimes, their egocentric and volatile personalities can make them more likely to be criminals.
So are all Washington, D.C., residents secretly Frank Underwood from House of Cards? Probably not, but we did rank the highest with a standardized score of 3.48. The next highest point was Connecticut which ranked in only as a 1.89, followed by California, New Jersey, New York, and Wyoming. The least psychopathic states are West Virginia, Vermont, Tennessee, North Carolina, and New Mexico. Overall, the most psychopathic states are in the Northeast while the rural states are the least psychopathic.
The study used data from a previous study which examined the Big Five personality traits in 48 states and the District. Believed to be the primary factors of a person’s personality, The Big Five personality traits are extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. To examine how many psychopaths are located in an area, the author created a formula to calculate psychopathy. High rates of extroversion gives the state a higher score, while high rates of neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness lower the score.
The author notes that psychopaths are likely to be effective in the political sphere which could explain our high ranking. Also, urban areas generally appeal to psychopaths, and our large population makes it more likely that psychopaths will be in the area.
A previous study showed the occupations most likely to be staffed with psychopaths are CEOs, lawyers, journalists, police officers, salespeople, chefs, clergypeople, and civil servants. Washington, D.C., definitely has a lot of these workers!
Murphy, the author of the study, told Politico in an email, “I had previously written on politicians and psychopathy, but I had no expectation D.C. would stand out as much as it does. Psychopaths have an awfully grandiose way of thinking about themselves, and D.C. has numerous means of seeking and attaining power.”
While politics may not always be as dramatic as TV shows portray it, political jobs do seem to reward ambition and ruthlessness. Psychopaths are also known for coming off very charming, which is hugely helpful in the political sphere.
While the results of the study certainly are interesting, this probably won’t be Washington, D.C.’s claim to fame. At least D.C. also ranks number one in wine consumption, walking-accessibility, average income, and best pay equality!
What do you think? Are the results surprising to you at all? Which state did you think would be number one? Let us know in the comments below!