A neural model of mechanisms of empathy deficits in narcissism

Kamila Jankowiak-Siuda , Wojciech Zajkowski


From a multidimensional perspective, empathy is a process that includes affective sharing and imagining and understanding the emotions of others. The primary brain structures involved in mediating the components of empathy include the anterior insula (AI), the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) and specific regions of the medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC). The AI and ACC are the main nodes in the Salience Network (SN), which selects and coordinates the information flow from the intero- and exteroreceptors. AI might play a role as a crucial hub – a dynamic switch between two separate networks of cognitive processing: the Central Executive Network (CEN), which is concerned with effective task execution, and the Default Mode Network (DMN), which is involved with self-reflective processes. Given various classifications, a deficit in empathy may be considered a central dysfunctional trait in narcissism. A recent fMRI study suggests that deficit in empathy is due to a dysfunction in the right AI. Based on the acquired data, we propose a theoretical model of imbalanced SN functioning in narcissism in which the dysfunctional AI hub is responsible for constant DMN activation, which, in turn, centres one's attention on the self. This might hinder the ability to affectively share and understand the emotions of others. This paper aims to inspire and direct future research regarding the neural mechanisms of empathy deficits in narcissism. 
Author Kamila Jankowiak-Siuda (Wydział Psychologii)
Kamila Jankowiak-Siuda,,
- Wydział Psychologii
, Wojciech Zajkowski
Wojciech Zajkowski,,
Journal seriesMedical Science Monitor, ISSN 1643-3750, [1234-1010], (A 15 pkt)
Issue year2013
Publication size in sheets0.5
Keywords in Englishnarcissism • empathy • salience network • anterior insula • anterior cingulate cortex
ASJC Classification2700 General Medicine
URL http://www.medscimonit.com/download/index/idArt/889593
Languageen angielski
Narcyzm889593.pdf of 14-09-2015
456.86 KB
Score (nominal)20
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2014 = 0.858; WoS Impact Factor: 2013 = 1.216 (2) - 2013=1.213 (5)
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Dorobek Naukowy - Preview URLhttp://dn.swps.edu.pl/Podglad.aspx?WpisID=17163
Dorobek Naukowy - Approve URLhttp://dn.swps.edu.pl/Biuro/ZatwierdzanieWpisu.aspx?WpisID=17163
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* presented citation count is obtained through Internet information analysis and it is close to the number calculated by the Publish or Perish system.
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