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These States Are Home to the Most Psychopaths in the Country

Lionsgate Films

It's easy to convince yourself that you're surrounded by psychopaths as you make your way through the world. Your unrelentingly cruel boss? Psychopath. That guy who cut you off during your commute? Psychopath. The roommate who boldly snatched your leftover pizza? 100% psychopath. But if you've ever really wondered where exactly the actual psychopaths are, you might be a little surprised. 

That's because, thanks to some new calculations based on personality trait research from around the country, we now know which states are home to the most psychopaths in the contiguous US.

The new study, which was recently published on Social Science Research Network, first considered a bunch of previous research on the prevalence of five distinct personality traits in each state: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness. Then, its authors calculated the frequency of a combination of those traits in each state that are associated with psychopathy to determine the full ranking. It's worth noting, however, that the study's lead researcher, Southern Methodist University professor Ryan Murphy, stresses that these rankings should be considered more of an estimate, since there's no definitive way of connecting such broad personality trait data into a distinct diagnosis. In other words, take this lineup with a grain of salt. 

Psychopathy is thought to be composed of a combination of three distinct things: disinhibition, boldness, and meanness. At the moment, those things can really only loosely be associated with the big five personality traits established in the aforementioned state-by-state research used in the study, but a forthcoming paper -- which was also considered in this research -- does in fact connect them. Specifically, that paper speculates that “boldness corresponds to low neuroticism and high extraversion, meanness corresponds to low agreeableness, and disinhibition corresponds to low conscientiousness."

So where are all the psychopaths living these days? The study awards Connecticut as the most psychopathic state, followed by California then New Jersey in the number two and three spots, respectively. Conversely, of all 48 contiguous states, West Virginia has the fewest psychopaths within its borders, followed by Vermont, then Tennessee. Here's how the full rankings panned out.

48. West Virginia
47. Vermont
46. Tennessee
45. North Carolina
44. New Mexico
43. Oklahoma
42. Montana
41. Mississippi
40. Indiana
39. Oregon
38. New Hampshire
37. South Carolina
36. Nebraska
35. Kentucky
34. Washington
33. Missouri
32. Minnesota
31. Georgia
30. Kansas
29. Lousiana
28. Rhode Island
27. Pennsylvania
26. Alabama
25. Michigan
24. North Dakota
23. Idaho
22. Arkansas
21. Utah
20. Ohio
19. Texas
18. Colorado
17. Iowa
16. Florida
15. Arizona
14. Massachusetts
13. Delaware
12. South Dakota
11. Maryland
10. Virginia
9. Illinois
8. Nevada
7. Wisconsin
6. Maine
5. Wyoming
4. New York
3. New Jersey
2. California
1. Connecticut

Although this ranking only considered the lower 48 states, a fascinating detail is that if Washington, DC had been factored in as its own state, it would have topped the list as having the most psychopaths of all, nearly double as many as are in Connecticut. Just a bit of anecdotal evidence that people drawn to power in Washington may have some, uh, special traits, as the study notes.

"The District of Columbia is measured to be far more psychopathic than any individual state in the country, a fact that can be readily explained either by its very high population density or by the type of person who may be drawn a literal seat of power" the study reads.

And while it hasn't been officially peer-reviewed, this research certainly provides some compelling info worth considering before you decide whether or not to move to a certain part of the country. Ya' know, in case the number of good jobs or fast food joints there hasn't convinced you already.

h/tQuartz

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.