A dubious honor

Washington DC psychopaths

Crawling with psychos

Perhaps not surprisingly, the nation’s capital is the most sociopathic place in the US. And Connecticut is number two!

Ryan Murphy, an economist at Southern Methodist University, recently published a working paper in which he ranked each of the states by the predominance of—there’s no nice way to put it—psychopaths. The winner? Washington in a walk. In fact, the capital scored higher on Murphy’s scale than the next two runners-up combined.

“I had previously written on politicians and psychopathy, but I had no expectation D.C. would stand out as much as it does,” Murphy wrote in an email.

When Murphy matched up the “constellation of disinhibition, boldness and meanness” that marks psychopathy with a previously existing map of the states’ predominant personality traits, he found that dense, coastal areas scored highest by far—with Washington dominant among them. “The District of Columbia is measured to be far more psychopathic than any individual state in the country,” Murphy writes in the paper. The runner-up, Connecticut, registered only 1.89 on Murphy’s scale, compared with the overwhelming 3.48 clocked by the District.

According to Martha Stout’s The Sociopath Next Door, sociopaths make up four percent of the US population. Assuming “psychopath” roughly corresponds to “sociopath,” based on DC’s population of about 694,000, we can estimate that there are well over 27,760 psychos in the capital — possibly in the region of 50,000 or more?

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