Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Do you find that, when you travel to certain parts of the country, you suffer from excessive discomfort.
Somehow, the people seem odd. Or rude. Or very, very loud. Or simply have a menacing look in their eyes.
Well, I’m here to help you with your future travels, so that you can avoid excessive disturbance.
A new study — not yet peer-reviewed — has listed the states with the most psychopaths and the ones that appear to bathe in greater depths of sanity.
Ryan Murphy from Southern Methodist University looked at previous research of personality states by state — analyzed according to the so-called Big Five characteristics.
These are neuroticism, agreeableness, extroversion, conscientiousness and openness to experience
He also looked at previous research of classifying psychopathy with respect to these five characteristics. From that he deduced which states enjoy the most troubling sorts.
You might decide, on perusing his conclusions, that they’re enlightening. Or disturbing.
Or, indeed, both.
You see, the winning state is Connecticut.
Perhaps it’s a state you don’t think about very often. Or perhaps you feel it’s the home of far too many hedge funds and that explains everything.
After all, psychopathy is often defined by such traits as a lack of inhibition, meanness and a certain sort of bold attitude. Viewers of Billions will surely understand.
However, Connecticut isn’t, on the whole, a state that enjoys all that much national attention.
On the other hand.
California came second.
So many have strong opinions about this fascinating state — where I happen to live.
Can it be that, despite all the lovey-dovey (of self) nature and the sense of crusading freedom, California is full of, well, difficult sorts?
Murphy’s overarching conclusion is touching: “Areas of the United States that are measured to be most psychopathic are those in the Northeast and other similarly populated regions. The least psychopathic are predominantly rural areas.”
I don’t know about all of that, sir. The literature of rural areas offers alternative evidence.
Although, having lived in New York for a couple of years, I certainly won’t battle all of Murphy’s thoughts.
It wasn’t just that Connecticut came first, but New Jersey came third and New York tied for fourth.
Murphy also offered a stunningly disturbing — and entirely unsurprising — parenthesis:
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.
And millions scream: “You don’t say!”
Murphy prefers to exclude D.C. from his league table simply because it has no geographical diversity. Which I don’t think is excuse enough.
My colleagues here at Inc have offered all sorts of tips on how you can spot a psychopath.
Jessica Stillman, for example, has warned that those who discuss food, sex and money to excess might be difficult sorts. (They are.)
Jeff Haden teased out spotting a psychopath by the sort of boss they prefer.
He also showed how true psychopaths have a certain greed for reward about them. (Now who does that remind you of?)
Murphy’s research doesn’t entirely absolve the more rural areas. Wyoming tied for fourth with New York. Which surely offers the Wyoming Tourism Authority an excellent new avenue for marketing.
Wyoming. We’re as Mean as New York, but the Air’s Better.
You, though, have been holding out hope that you live in the least psychopathic state.
This, according to Murphy’s estimates, is West Virginia.
Which surely also offers this state’s tourism authority fodder for marketing.
Virginia is for Lovers. West Virginia’s For the Sane.