Washington, D.C., is the most psychopathic of all U.S.

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Psychopaths are dangerous people because they are human predators.
Some are violent criminals and serial killers. Many others are not, but are upstanding pillars of the community, found in reputable professions, especially CEOs, politicians, lawyers, journalists, and most alarmingly, clergy. (More on these occupations later in this post.)

The hallmark attributes of a psychopath include a lack of empathy for others, selfishness, lack of guilt, and a superficial charm that manifests exclusively to manipulate others. It should be noted that those attributes, except maybe lack of guilt, also characterize pathological narcissists or the Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Psychopathy is not a binary, either/or attribute, but displays itself as a spectrum of more or less. We are told that as many as 5% of people may possess psychopathic tendencies.
A recent study by Dr. Ryan H. Murphy, a research assistant professor at Southern Methodist University’s School of Business, in Dallas, Texas, found that Washington, D.C., is the most psychopathic of all of United States.
Published as a 14-page online working paper, titled “Psychopathy by U.S. State,” Murphy employed the Big Five personality traits as a measure to estimate the level of psychopathy for each of the contiguous 48 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
The Big Five personality traits are:

  1. Extraversion
  2. Agreeableness
  3. Conscientiousness
  4. Neuroticism
  5. Openness

Psychopathy is loosely correlated with low extraversion, very low agreeableness and conscientiousness, very high neuroticism, and moderately high openness. In other words, psychopaths are introverted, very disagreeable, very unconscientious, highly neurotic, and moderately open.


Each of the Big Five personality traits receives a T-score centered on a mean of 50 and a standard deviation of 10. Extraversion enters positively, while neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness enter negatively.
Using Renfrow, et al.‘s data for the Big Five personality traits for the 48 contiguous states and the District of Columbia, Murphy created a raw score for each state by subtracting its scores for neuroticism, agreeableness, and conscientiousness from its score for extraversion. The raw score is then converted into a standardized z-score. The 48 states and D.C. are then ranked in accordance with each state’s z-score, from most psychopathic to least psychopathic.
Rentfrow, et al.‘s data are from:

  • Rentfrow, P. J., Gosling, S. D., Jokela, M., Stillwell, D. J., Kosinski, M., & Potter, J. 2013. “Divided We Stand: Three Psychological Regions of the United States and Their Political, Economic, Social, and Health Correlates.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 105 no. 6: 996–1012.
  • Rentfrow, P.J. and M. Jokela. 2016. “Geographical Psychology: The Spatial Organization of Psychological Phenomena.” Current Directions in Psychological Science 25, no. 6: 393-398.


Murphy found that areas of the United States measured to be most psychopathic are those in the Northeast and other similarly populated regions. The least psychopathic are predominantly rural areas, Wyoming being a curious exception.
The top five in psychopathy are the District of Columbia, Connecticut, California, New Jersey, New York & Wyoming (tying for #5 rank).
The states that are the least psychopathic are West Virginia, Vermont, Tennessee, North Carolina, and New Mexico.
Here is the list, beginning with D.C. as the most psychopathic:

  1. District of Columbia, with a z-score of 3.58. Murphy wryly observes: “The presence of psychopaths in District of Columbia is consistent with the conjecture found in Murphy (2016) that psychopaths are likely to be effective in the political sphere.”
  2. Connecticut: 1.89
  3. California: 1.21
  4. New Jersey: 1.09
  5. New York: 1.01
  6. Wyoming: 1.01
  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: -0.11
  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: -1.48
  48. Vermont: -1.66
  49. West Virginia: -2.11

Murphy hypothesizes that the level of psychopathy of a state has to do with at least these two factors:

  1. Rate of urbanization (and therefore, population congestion).
  2. Occupation

Murphy writes on page 5 that:

  • The “most disproportionately psychopathic” occupations are CEO, lawyer, media, salesperson, surgeon, journalist, police officer, clergyperson, chef, and civil servant (or politician).
  • The least psychopathic occupations are care aide, nurse, therapist, craftsperson, beautician/stylist, charity worker, teacher, creative artist, doctor, and accountant.

Religious clergy are among the most psychopathic occupations! I am reminded of what the late psychiatrist M. Scott Peck, M.D., wrote: what better place for evil to hide than in the church, by camouflaging themselves as good.
Murphy concludes:

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 [to] a literal seat of power…. Additionally, Wyoming is an odd data point, ranking very high in psychopathy given its lack of population.

To find out if you’re a psychopath, go to “Are you a psychopath” and take the test!
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30 responses to “Washington, D.C., is the most psychopathic of all U.S.

  1. Shocker, not…

  2. DC is the cesspool of depravity so yea I can see it. And we had the country run for 8 yrs with a psychopath at the helm. So not a stretch at all. Thanks Doc for showing us what they are.

  3. Wyoming… Isn’t that the home of Richard ‘Big Dick’ Cheney? And if so, then I think that alone qualifies to bump that State up by a factor of 10. As one of the principal planners of 911, he’s known as Dork Canine in my epic, The Daze of Dubya, a series of linked poems memoralising that most grievous day of infamy.

  4. Psychopaths, hug? Another good reason and time for U.S.A. to have a new Capital city,u name it.WWG1WGA!

  5. Honestly, one has to be a criminal psychopath it seems to want to seek any higher office. What better way to commit crimes, almost without interference?

    • I predicted when Trump was elected that the TDS was going to be 1,000 times worse than BDS. Never did I imagine that the TDS would skyrocket to astronomical levels…

      • I know. I wonder every day if our country will ever get back to normal. I don’t know if it’s possible to with these extremists. The right and left have no common ground anymore.

        • The left don’t want “normal.”
          They want it THEIR WAY and NOTHING ELSE.

        • Case in point: Trump is going to sign something re: separation of illegal kids and IT’S NOT ENOUGH to placate them. The libs only want illegal immigrants to run free. So sick of their hysterics and temper tantrums…

  6. Very important and revealing post. I would also like to see each occupation and profession scored for psychopathy and sociopathy.
    At first, I was shocked by what happened to the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council. But after having witnessed the Church welcome and cater to every lunatic fringe group imaginable, I came to understand one thing: The saboteurs and destroyers won’t leave the Church PRECISELY BECAUSE they detest Christ and What He Represents; Hence, they WILL NOT leave because they wish to DESTROY the Church. So these moral monsters are Judas Iscariots—with a twist: They will not hang themselves, but they do wish to hang everyone else, if it is possible.
    And I no longer hold Pope John Paul II or either of his successors in high regard: John Paul II was a very charismatic man (my late uncle, who was a priest, met him twice and found him to be quite personable), but he seemed to exhibit the same qualities to some degree: The cultural and bureaucratic rot in the Church continued and worsened under his watch. Benedict XVI was in on the Second Vatican Council’s proceedings, and his writings (I have found him to be unreadable) are masterful examples of moral ambiguity, not only morally dangerous, but also intellectually annoying.
    So I find it as no surprise that the man who claims to be Pope who has followed Benedict, Francis, has turned out to be even worse. Indeed, had Bergoglio not been chosen, some other psychopath would have been: Things have only been getting worse, and I expect the present condition to continue its devolution.
    At any rate, we should expect things to get worse because the Church has been infiltrated and subverted. As long as the Church is not able to resist and then stem the tide of evil, things can only be expected to keep getting worse: Christ’s Vanguard against evil has been crippled!
    I believe that the corruption of matters of faith has been one catalyst of our collective condition; I believe that the corruption of human sexuality on a society-wide basis has proved to be the other catalyst. Not only have contraception and abortion changed the demographics of the entire world, they have cheapened the tone civilization itself presents to the young. We are at the point where Civilization Itself has been jeopardized: Civilization Itself has been rendered a THIN VENEER which most definitely CAN disappear: It has ceased to be the bedrock we used to be able to depend on. (Watch in horror at what happens should the power grid go down).
    My own personal experience, having taught and driven people and dealing with the public for many years, here in New York, has allowed me to see many different kinds of people. I’ve dealt with nasty drunks, drug addicts, sexual degenerates—you name it. Yet it may seem odd to others (at first), but I would say that, of all the kinds of people I’ve had to deal with, I have found degenerate and incorrigible gamblers to be the ABSOLUTE WORST kind of people I have ever had to deal with. Many people don’t understand that gambling addiction, once it crosses a certain line, becomes criminal behavior, and it is more difficult to detect than the behaviors and attitudes of other people.
    And from my travels and experience here in the Big City also show me that, Yes, there actually IS a hierarchy of sociopaths and psychopaths: Just because someone happens to be one or the other does not guarantee they win: I have been lucky to see a sociopath or psychopath put in his place by the other person. Yes, it DOES happen!
    Great post.

  7. Fun fact: about five years ago I read an article on the cities with the highest percentage of lawyers in their populations. DC was first, and twice as high as #2 Newport Beach, CA, which was almost twice as high as the #3 city.

  8. Lawyers are the outlaws that own a degree to deceive from the truth.

  9. I don’t know….I’ve known a LOT of psychopathic teachers and doctors. The smarter they are the easier it is to hide it usually.

  10. “….In other words, psychopaths are introverted, very disagreeable, very unconscientious, highly neurotic, and moderately open.” -wow! No wonder I don’t get along with most writing critics!
    And it explains why the internet operates like it does. ;D
    I am only half-joking

  11. I have a question: if psychopaths are deceivers, why don’t they just cheat on psychopathy tests?

    • Nevada was #9? HMmmmm-I woulda thought we’d be higher up the list than that. After all,we have Dean Heller and Harry Reid,and that Steve Sisolak jackass….(He’s campaigning for Governor on destroying the NRA and pushing for Gun Confiscation…..)
      Eli-My Bro’s Dad has been certifiably Crazy for YEARS. His Wife tried 4 times to have him committed to an asylum,but every time they brought him in for testing and observation,he became Sane,and passed all their tests without a problem. Then when the family went to pick him up,as soon as he was in the car,he went completely off his nut. The family finally ran away from their home in Indiana,moved to Nevada and changed their last name,but he eventually found ’em anyway. I tell ya-SOME of those guys are smart enough to fool the EXPERTS.

  12. Stephen T. McCarthy

    >>… The “most disproportionately psychopathic” occupations are CEO, lawyer, media, salesperson, surgeon, journalist, police officer, clergyperson, chef, and civil servant (or politician).
    Aside from paying a great deal of attention to the rampant police brutality in today’s Police State USA environment, I have known many cops on a friendly personal basis. At one time, back in the mid-1970s, I even worked for a police department’s Property Room in the Los Angeles area and received training from the L.A. County Sheriffs Department.
    So I know the LEO mindset very well, and if police officers had not been mentioned in this category, I would have been prepared to call B.S. on the entire study. But they are there, as they certainly should be! (Pro Tip: Don’t call the cops!)
    But I was a bit surprised to find “salesperson” and “chef” on that list. “Salesperson” makes sense in some respect (e.g., trying to convince someone to buy something solely for the salesperson’s benefit), but I think there are also a lot of well-meaning salespeople. So that one strikes me as a bit curious. And when it comes to a chef, aren’t most of them engaged in an activity specifically intended to bring genuine pleasure to others? That also seems a bit peculiar, but I’m no expert on this subject.
    >>… The least psychopathic occupations are care aide, nurse, therapist, craftsperson, beautician/stylist, charity worker, teacher, creative artist, doctor, and accountant.
    These above seem to make sense to me upon quick reflection. But it’s interesting that “surgeon” made it into the upper list while “doctor” was in the second list. What is the takeaway from this? That for some reason, a person who specializes in surgeries is more likely to be psychopathic, while a general practitioner is more likely NOT to be psychopathic? Hmmm…. Any thoughts from anyone else on this one?
    ~ D-FensDogG
    Stephen T. McCarthy Reviews…

    • I watch many cooking competition shows. A LOT of chefs believe they “deserve” to win because they are the best chef in their industry. Big egos many of them have….

    • Psycho Chef > Anthony Bourdain was my first thought.
      Sales > Used Car Salesmen. 🙂
      Surgeons are probably more likely “control freaks” who think they are “gods” vs. your Average Dr. Joe.
      Of all professions, it would be especially dangerous to have an “unconscientious” surgeon!
      Fascinating study all around! No surprise re DC but bad news for the country! WV is just “over the hill” from DC yet DC is #1 & WV is last at #49!

    • Surgeons have to cut into people, that’s why. Most don’t have the stomach to hurt other people, even if it is to heal them.

    • Surgeons are the elite of physicians, some are said to have a “God complex” arrogance because surgeries determine a patient’s very life or death.

      • That’s what I was thinking. And the “unconscientious surgeons” must be the ones who leave bloody-soaked cotton balls & surgical instruments INSIDE the patient after sewing them up! (I’ve seen news stories over the decades re things like that, usually associated with lawsuits &/or deaths caused by infections from same.)
        Another “unconscientious surgeon” true story that I’ve shared before: Circa 1970-1971 (first job out of high school), while doing dictaphone transcription for an insurance company that held the insurance policy for a Miami hospital, the claims manager had to fly down there constantly due to the lawsuits. One case that REALLY upset him was when a surgeon had cut off the WRONG LEG of a patient! The boss himself told me thereafter, “If you EVER need to have surgery, buy a water-proof black magic marker & WRITE ON YOUR OWN BODY where/what organ or limb is to be operated on & draw an ARROW pointing to it!”
        (It can never be assumed that those who write notes in patient records do it correctly, nor that the doctors will always read those records, even if they were recorded correctly.)
        The poor patient whose good leg was cut off by mistake, then had to have the bad (correct) leg cut off, so he ended up with NO legs!
        The claims manager/boss had a specialty medical alert bracelet made for himself that he wore on every trip to Miami. He’d grab his briefcase & head for the office door & his admin.assistant lady & the claims adjuster guy would holler out to him: “Hey, Xxxxx, you got your bracelet on?!” The boss would raise his right arm into the air & jingle his wrist so the metal bracelet would rattle & say, “YUP! I’ve got it on!” And then they all would burst out laughing! Funniest thing I ever saw. Hilarious. His bracelet read: “If I’m in an accident, do NOT take me to Xxxxx Hospital!” 😀

  13. Let’s rearrange this list:
    C Conscientiousness
    A Agreeableness
    N Neuroticism
    O Openness
    E Extraversion
    Perhaps by making this into an acronym, we can more easily recall it in those moments when our red flags go up. And if it floats my boat, maybe it’ll do the same for you!

  14. If you look carefully at the list…almost all of the Freakout states are run by Libs…

    • We must be VERY careful to avoid the duality trap of Manichaeism, that is, seeing everything rduced to a titanic struggle between the forces of Good and Evil, the Light and the Dark. Of course, a very great part of it is, but there is far more than these two elements at work here. For a good overview on this, go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manichaeism
      The RC Church has opposed this point of view for more than 1200 years, as it understood the deeper problems such a simplistic dichotomy presents, even though it is tempting to see matters in this way.

      • Interesting! A cult I’d never heard of, it thrived from the 3rd to 7th centuries & was at one time the most widespread “religion” in the world (per Wiki).
        Its founder, Mani, “received revelations when he was 12 and again when he was 24 … Mani began preaching at an early age … he was raised in a Jewish-Christian baptism sect, the Elcesaites … he received a revelation as a youth from a spirit, whom he would later call his Twin (Aramaic Tauma (תאומא), from which is also derived the name of the apostle Thomas, the “twin”), his Syzygos (Greek for “partner”, in the Cologne Mani-Codex), his Double, his Protective Angel or Divine Self. It taught him truths that he developed into a religion. His divine Twin or true Self brought Mani to self-realization. He claimed to be the Paraclete of the Truth, as promised by Jesus in the New Testament.”
        Tsk! It sounds like Mani, misled by “a spirit,” let it all “go to his head.” Mani’s “Double” or “Twin” is reminiscent of Narcissus seeing his reflection in the pool of water & “loving himself” (Mani’s “Divine Self”) thereafter. Who else but “a spirit” like Lucifer could convince Mani that he was THE Holy Spirit!

  15. Yesterday 6/23/18, John Brennan wrote a “hate tweet” directed to POTUS: {twitter dot com/JohnBrennan/status/1010500990288695298 re Trump’s tweet here: twitter dot com/realDonaldTrump/status/1010485876806348800}
    This link was in the replies to Brennan: 🙂
    6/9/16: “Science says liberals, not conservatives, are psychotic”:
    The above is re a correction to a 2012 study’s results that had originally claimed it was conservatives who were “psychotic”! Four years later (2016) some other researcher discovered that the results had been misinterpreted in the exact opposite direction. The original 2012 researchers said, “We don’t know how that happened nor who is to blame.”
    What a mess! There must be some lying psychopaths lurking in the “research” field as well.

  16. Pingback: Americans' regard for religious clergy's honesty and ethics at all-time low - Fellowship Of The Minds

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