ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2016, Vol. 24 ›› Issue (8): 1246-1256.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2016.01246

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The theories and neurophysiological mechanisms of narcissistic personality

GUO Fengbo1; ZHANG Zhen1; YUAN Sheng1; JING Yiming2; WANG Yiwen1   

  1. (1 Academy of Psychology and Behavior, Tianjin Normal University, Tianjin 300074, China) (2 Institute for U.S.-China Issues, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma 73072, U.S.A.)
  • Received:2015-09-25 Online:2016-08-15 Published:2016-08-15
  • Contact: WANG Yiwen, E-mail:; JING Yiming, E-mail:


Narcissism is a personality trait characterized by grandiosity and inflated self-views. A large body of research has linked narcissistic personality with different characteristics of the self, including grandiosity, the need for admiration, egocentricity, high self-esteem, a lack of emotional empathy, and alexithymia. Research suggests that narcissistic features of grandiosity and the need for admiration stem from distorted self-views and self-enhancement. Some studies have shown that the middle frontal gyrus (MFG), medial prefrontal cortex (MPF), orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), precuneus (PC), and anterior insula (AI) are involved in self-enhancement and self-evaluation. Research also suggests that AI, the right dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC), and the right posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) might contribute to the lack of empathy. Future research will be dedicated to combining methods from Genetics, Electrophysiology, Biochemistry, and Brain Imaging Technology to construct a neuro-physiological model of a narcissistic personality.

Key words: narcissism, narcissistic personality, theoretical model, neurophysiological mechanism