Ryan Murphy, a Southern Methodist University economist, recently set out to determine which state, (including Washington, D.C. as a fifty-first locale) is the "psychopath capital of America."
His study used what is called "the big five" major personality traits as evidenced in people's actions.
According to Dictionary.com, a psychopath is "a person with a psychopathic personality, which manifests as amoral and antisocial behavior, lack of ability to love or establish meaningful personal relationships, extreme egocentricity, failure to learn from experience, etc."
Murphy's study says that Washington, D.C. is America's most psychopathic place. One of the big reasons for this, per an article from Politico, is that the denser a population (denser as in more people per square mile, not denser as in thick-headed), the more psychopaths there tend to be. It's a simple matter of demographic odds.
But, Politico also points out that wherever there are more people deemed "successful," inevitably there will also be a higher number of people with psychopathic tendencies...you know, the kind of person who would walk all over their grandmother to get what they want.
D.C. must have a lot of grandmother-stompers, because Murphy's study says that it has twice the psychopathic rating as the next two states on the list, Connecticut, and California, combined.
Before any of us who live in flyover country start bragging about how nice we are, it should be pointed out that there's a tie for fifth in psychopathy between two states, New York and Wyoming.
The five least psychopathic states, according to Murphy, are West Virginia, Vermont, Tennessee, North Carolina and New Mexico.
I don't know if I buy all of this, although as a pastor through the years, I've observed that different communities have different prevailing personality traits and worldviews. Whether that bears a relationship to psychopathy, I wouldn't know.
But, speaking for myself, I like Washington, D.C., Connecticut, and California. And I love New York. Some of the friendliest and kindest people I've ever known were from these states. I've never been to Wyoming and spent little time in New Jersey, which also made the top five. But I'm sure that there are nice people there too.
But the Murphy study will give some people the fodder they need to criticize places and people they don't like.
By the way, Ohio is ranked the country's 21st. most psychopathic state, while Michigan comes in at 26th. Maybe Murphy's study is onto something. (Only a joke.)
To see, Murphy's paper, go here.
[I'm the pastor of Living Water Lutheran Church in Centerville, Ohio. I am a sinner saved by grace. I'm trying not to be a psychopath.]