It is often said that Washington, DC is filled with a bunch of nerds dominated by psychopaths. Others say that politics is simply Hollywood for ugly people. These are usually said in a joking manner and often uttered after coming back from a young professional happy hour here in the swamp. Perhaps the most soulless congregation of folks ever assembled can be found at those kind of events.
But it turns out that a recent study showing the population density of psychopaths could confirm anecdotal suspicions that these two areas of American life have more in common than either would like to admit.
A report conducted by Ryan Murphy at Southern Methodist University found that Connecticut contained the most psychopaths per capita followed quickly by California. New Jersey and New York followed next. But our nation's capital by far had the highest level of psychopathic behavior than anywhere in the country.
As Newsmax notes, “Added in the study was Washington, D.C., which ‘had a psychopathy level far higher' than any state, according to the report – albeit because it is a small, entirely urban area and not as geographically diverse as a state. "The presence of psychopaths in District of Columbia is consistent with the conjecture found in Murphy  that psychopaths are likely to be effective in the political sphere," Murphy concluded in his study. (emphasis added)
Murphy analyzed "levels of big five personality traits (extroversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience) in each state," to carry out his research.
"Boldness corresponds to low neuroticism and high extraversion, meanness corresponds to low agreeableness, and disinhibition corresponds to low conscientiousness," Murphy wrote.
Turns out our nation's capital attracts these kind of characters in a major way.
"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 (as in Murphy 2016)," the report says. (emphasis added)
Northeast states overall contained the most psychopaths of any region. But, it is a little discomforting that the two areas of American life that impact us each day - entertainment and federal government - contain so many psychos.