Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Altered brain structure in pathological narcissism

Date:
June 19, 2013
Source:
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
Summary:
A far-reaching disorder of the self-esteem is denoted as a narcissistic personality disorder. Persons with pathological narcissism on the one hand suffer from feelings of inferiority, while on the other hand projecting themselves to the world as arrogant, disparaging and self-absorbed. One of the key features of a narcissistic personality disorder is the lack of empathy. Although patients suffering from such a disorder are well able to recognize what other persons feel, think and intent, they display little compassion.

A far-reaching disorder of the self-esteem is denoted as a narcissistic personality disorder. Persons with pathological narcissism on the one hand suffer from feelings of inferiority, while on the other hand projecting themselves to the world as arrogant, disparaging and self-absorbed. One of the key features of a narcissistic personality disorder is the lack of empathy. Although patients suffering from such a disorder are well able to recognize what other persons feel, think and intent, they display little compassion.

In this study, the team of scientists led by Privatdozent Dr. Stefan Röpke from the Charité Department of Psychiatry and Director of the personality disorders working group, have for the first time demonstrated the structural correlate of this deficit. They analyzed a total of 34 test subjects, of which 17 suffered from a narcissistic personality disorder. By means of various tests, the researchers had already revealed in a preliminary study that these patients actually exhibit a deficit of the ability to empathize. Using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) methods, the scientists measured the thickness of the patients' cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex forms the external nerve cell layer of the brain. The findings revealed that those subjects suffering from narcissistic personality disorder exhibited structural abnormalities in precisely that region of the brain, which is involved in the processing and generation of compassion. For patients with narcissism, this region of the cerebral cortex was markedly reduced in thickness compared to the control group.

"Our data shows that the amount of empathy is directly correlated to the volume of gray brain matter of the corresponding cortical representation in the insular region, and that the patients with narcissism exhibit a structural deficit in exactly this area," states Dr. Röpke, commenting on the findings. "Building on this initial structural data, we are currently attempting to use functional imaging (fMRI) to understand better how the brains of patients with narcissistic personality disorder work."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lars Schulze, Isabel Dziobek, Aline Vater, Hauke R. Heekeren, Malek Bajbouj, Babette Renneberg, Isabella Heuser, Stefan Roepke. Gray matter abnormalities in patients with narcissistic personality disorder. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 2013; DOI: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2013.05.017

Cite This Page:

Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. "Altered brain structure in pathological narcissism." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 June 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130619101434.htm>.
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. (2013, June 19). Altered brain structure in pathological narcissism. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130619101434.htm
Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin. "Altered brain structure in pathological narcissism." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/06/130619101434.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

Companies Ramp Up Wellness to Lower Health Costs

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) — That little voice telling you to exercise, get in shape and get healthy is probably coming from your boss. More companies are beefing up wellness programs to try and cut down their health care costs. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

FDA Wants To Ban Sales Of E-Cigarettes To Minors

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) — The Food and Drug Administration wants to crack down on the use of e-cigarettes, banning the sale of the product to minors. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins