Mind & Body

This Place Is the Psychopath Capital of the US, According to a Study

It's safe to say that no one would want Patrick Bateman as a next-door neighbor. Not to freak you out, but you might already have a psychopath on the block without even realizing it. We can't tell you that with any type of certainty, although we can tell you about the potential psychopath capital of the U.S. Brace yourself.

Bad Side of the Big 5

Are you surrounded by psychopaths? A June 2018 study might give you an idea if that's the case. This research, which has yet to be peer-reviewed, ranked psychopathy levels in the contiguous United States by location. Economist Ryan Murphy at Southern Methodist University looked at 2013 research on how the Big Five personality traits (extraversion, neuroticism, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and openness to experience) are spread across the country to pick out where the highest concentrations of psychopaths lie.

There's no one conclusion as to how psychopathy is best measured, but Murphy believes that psychopathy can be determined within the Big Five. "Boldness corresponds to low neuroticism and high extroversion, meanness corresponds to low agreeableness, and disinhibition corresponds to low conscientiousness," Murphy explains in his working paper. "[Previous findings] can thereby be combined into a method of estimating the level of psychopathy for each US state." By running with these numbers, Murphy was able to come up with a quick calculation for a standardized psychopath score for each state.

United States of Psychopathy

Without further ado, here's the list, starting with the alleged psychopath capital of the U.S. The number following each state is Murphy's standardized psychopath score for that state:

1. District of Columbia: 3.48

2. Connecticut: 1.89

3. California: 1.21

4. New Jersey: 1.09

5./6. New York: 1.01 (TIE)

5./6. Wyoming: 1.01 (TIE)

7. Maine: 0.99

8. Wisconsin: 0.95

9. Nevada: 0.89

10. Illinois: 0.73

11. Virginia: 0.67

12. Maryland: 0.66

13. South Dakota: 0.61

14. Delaware: 0.56

15. Massachusetts: 0.46

16. Arizona: 0.45

17. Florida: 0.40

18. Iowa: 0.30

19. Colorado: 0.28

20. Texas: 0.25

21. Ohio: 0.22

22. Utah: 0.09

23. Arkansas: 0.00

24. Idaho: -0.05

25. North Dakota: -0.06

26. Michigan: -0.07

27. Alabama: -0.08

28. Pennsylvania: -0.12

29. Rhode Island: -0.14

30. Louisiana: -0.17

31. Kansas: -0.19

32. Georgia: -0.22

33. Minnesota: -0.28

34. Missouri: -0.33

35. Washington: -0.43

36. Kentucky: -0.51

37. Nebraska: -0.53

38. South Carolina: -0.64

39. New Hampshire: -0.79

40. Oregon: -0.81

41. Indiana: -1.01

42. Mississippi: -1.10

43. Montana: -1.10

44. Oklahoma: -1.29

45. New Mexico: -1.39

46. North Carolina: -1.55

47. Tennessee: -1.58

48. Vermont: -1.66

49. West Virginia: -2.11

I Know You Are, But What Am I?

As you probably noticed, Washington D.C. really ran away with the competition here. Consider it a bit of an outlier given its mostly urban population and overwhelming percentage of politicians, a profession we know to have a whole bunch of psychopaths (along with a few others). Worried you might be one of the psychopaths in the equation? Take the Hare Psychopathy Checklist-Revised just for kicks.

If you'd like to learn more about Dr. Robert Hare's research, check out his book, "Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us." We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

Written by Joanie Faletto June 21, 2018

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