What’s Going On In A Narcissistic Brain?

Neurobiological explanations for narcissism.

Write Mind Matters
5 min readApr 9, 2022
Source: Kaitlyn Griffith.

When we understand the neurobiological differences between a person with and without a personality disorder, we can isolate potential causes and treatment opportunities.

“Early life intervention also offers hope of preventing dysfunction associated with abuse, neglect and adversity that in many instances are-direct normal brain and mind trajectories toward personality disorder.” — Dragan M. Svrakic & Charles F. Zorumski.

Because narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) often leads to interpersonal dysfunction, the social brain is of particular interest; the temporal-parietal junction, posterior superior temporal sulcus, medial prefrontal cortex, anterior cingulate cortex, amygdala, and interrelated regions.

I recently shared a story highlighting studies and behaviours that suggest narcissists know they’re narcissistic:

Now, I’m writing a story that looks into the neurobiological reasoning behind narcissism. However, for the following reasons, I disagree that “… [narcissistic] behaviour is not carried out by choice — the distorted view of the reality of a narcissist is a result of grey matter deficiency in the frontal lobe of the brain’.

  1. Most studies have yet to identify whether or not the differences are a result of narcissism, or the other way around.
  2. You can increase the amount of white and grey matter in the brain and other forms of neuroplasticity.
  3. Alterations in grey matter, cortical volume, neural circuitry, and other neurobiological structures and functions can lead to any number of cognitive, emotional, behavioural, and physiological disorders.
  4. Deciding to behave in a certain way takes multiple processes across multiple regions of the brain, and narrowing it down to one region negates very rich and real historical, cultural, contextual, and environmental influences.



Write Mind Matters

BA(psych), GradDipPsych(student), DipHlthSc(NatNut)|Parenting, personality disorders & trauma.