These Are The States With The Most Psychopaths, According To A New Study

Photo by Luca Di Lotti

Ryan Murphy, Ph.D., an economist at Southern Methodist University, has taken a keen interest in psychopaths: people who manipulate others by taking on different personalities.

He's compiled previous research to "map out" the psychopaths across the country and pinpoint which areas tend to have more of them. The findings? The states (and districts) with the most psychopaths—in order—were Washington, D.C.; Connecticut; California; and New Jersey. New York and Wyoming tied for fifth. The lowest concentrations were in West Virginia, Vermont, Tennessee, North Carolina, and New Mexico.

Murphy attributes some of this to urbanization. "It’s difficult to generalize from a single cross-section of data, but the prominence of or closeness to large, urban centers in each state appears to have a high correspondence with the psychopathy data. This follows from the theory that psychopaths prefer both opportunities for power and the anonymity that a city can offer," he tells Inverse.

However, this brand-new paper should be taken with a grain of salt since it has yet to be peer-reviewed. Plus, as positive psychologist Samantha Boardman, M.D., told us at mbg's 2016 revitalize event, spotting a psychopath is easier said than done.

"By definition, [they have] a lack of empathy," she said. "They can actually play different roles extremely well and morph into charming, lovely people, but when they think nobody is looking, you get a different glimpse of them. But it's really a diagnosis you have to make over time. You can't tell in the moment."

Think you have a psychopath in your life? Here are 7 ways to tell.

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