The combination of money, politics, and power seems to be a “honey magnet” for psychopaths, and Washington, D.C. proves that. More psychopaths live there than anywhere else in the country, according to a research study — and this probably didn’t surprise many.
The study, published in 2019 by the Southern Methodist University, ranked 48 states and the District of Columbia based on psychopathic tendencies of people living there. D.C. had the highest rate of psychopathy, followed by Connecticut and California.
Psychopaths tend to be extroverted and charming yet “largely devoid of guilt, empathy, and love,” according to Scientific American. They do things purely for their own interests, have shallow relationships, and place blame on others when things go wrong, according to the magazine.
Some of the classic psychopathic traits include lack of remorse and empathy, a sense of grandiosity, superficial charm, conning and manipulative behavior, and refusal to take responsibility for one’s actions. “For politicians, possessing excessive charm and a calculating mind would be considered assets,” CNBC reported.
The study ranked each state by analyzing the results of personality surveys given to thousands of residents in each state. It found that people tended to have different levels of each of five traits: agreeableness, extraversion, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism, The Miami Herald reported.
A previous study published in 2013 divided the U.S. into broad regions of personality, based on those five traits. Mid-Atlantic and northeast states were classified as “temperamental and uninhibited.” States in middle America were categorized as “friendly and conventional,” while those on the West Coast, Rocky Mountains, and Sunbelt region were labeled “relaxed and creative.”
Murphy used the data on personality from the 2013 study and his new research to calculate the ranks of psychopathy in each state, according to Quartz.
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“The top five observations in psychopathy are the District of Columbia, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, and a tie of New York and Wyoming for fifth. The states that are least psychopathic are West Virginia, Vermont, Tennessee, North Carolina, and New Mexico,” Murphy wrote.