A recent study by Ryan Murphy at Southern Methodist University attempted to quantify psychopathic disorders and to rank states according to the number of psychopaths each likely has.
In the study, which has not yet been peer-reviewed, Murphy considered the “big five” personality traits by state: extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience. Based in part on a 2013 study that tied certain characteristics to psychopathy — disinhibition, boldness, and meanness — Murphy set out to demonstrate show how those behaviors correspond to the “big five” traits and to extrapolate patterns of psychopathic behavior.
“Boldness corresponds to low neuroticism and high extraversion, meanness corresponds to low agreeableness, and disinhibition corresponds to low conscientiousness,” Murphy explained in the study. Based on this findings, he was able to translate personality traits into a psychopathy score for each state along with the District of Columbia.
Murphy compared the personality trait estimates to two variables that relate to psychopathy: the homicide rate and the percentage of the state living in an urban area. He noted that “there is a strong correlation between psychopathy and the variable for urban,” adding that the District of Columbia is an outlier, at least in part, “due to it being an entirely urban geographic area.”
The District of Columbia had by far the highest score (3.48) followed by Connecticut (1.89), California (1.21), New Jersey (1.09), and New York (1.01). Murphy explained that the “presence of psychopaths in District of Columbia is consistent with the conjecture… that psychopaths are likely to be effective in the political sphere.”
- police officer
- civil servant
The occupations with the fewest psychopaths: care aide, nurse, therapist, craftsperson, beautician/stylist, charity worker, teacher, creative artist, doctor, and accountant.
He points out that the rankings are just estimates and said more research is needed to determine accurate longitudinal data for each state.
Here are the state rankings from Murphy’s paper (D.C. not included):
|4. (tie)||New York|