We can now see narcissism in the brain. Brain scans of people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) showed they have less brain matter in areas associated with emotional empathy. This is the first time anyone has seen the evidence of narcissism in brain structures.
The inability to feel empathy is one of the hallmarks of NPD. Researchers have found that people with this disorder can take the perspective of another person in a purely intellectual way. However, when it comes to actually feeling what another person is going through, narcissists have difficulty.
A group of German researchers recently studied the source of this lack of emotional empathy in people with NPD. In their research, they collected MRI brain scans of 17 people with NPD along with 17 people from the community for comparison. The researchers first looked at brain volume overall and found that the people with NPD were similar to the healthy individuals. That is, both groups’ brains’ were similar overall.