Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder suffer from low self-esteem and feelings of inferiority, while also projecting displays of arrogance and vanity, according to the American Psychiatric Association.
One of the key traits of pathological narcissists is their clear lack of empathy, said Stefan Röpke, a professor in the department of psychiatry at the Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin in Germany. Generally, these patients are able to recognize what others feel and think, but outwardly exhibit little compassion. [The 10 Most Controversial Psychiatric Disorders]
The left anterior insula region of the brain, which is thought to be involved with cognitive functioning and the regulation of emotion, has also been tied to the generation of compassion and empathy.
“This was already a region of interest for empathy, but for the first time, we were able to show that it is structurally correlated in the brain,” Röpke told LiveScience.