Narcissism does not stem from childhood struggles
Some are born with status sensitivity and the taste for impulse buying
How many of you still believe that narcissist is a victim of elusive childhood traumatic experience? One giant … lie? And here is why?
There is an increasing tendency toward narcissism among young adults worldwide, but the root causes are still obscure. Here are three scientifically-supported data points to consider why narcissism may be a genetic condition rather than the result of traumatic childhood upbringing.
Narcissists are geared toward the status
Investigators measured spontaneous facial muscle activity linked to positive affect (muscles responsible for smiling) and negative affect (muscles involved in frowning) in 123 children aged 8–13 participating in a game that involved status changes. The experiment imitated social status gain or loss within simulated social media. Simultaneously the parents were closely watching children’s expression without being present.
Gaining or losing the status in the game provoked a rise in involuntary facial muscle activity. Positive emotions were detected as involuntary activity of muscles responsible for smiling, and negative emotions as activity of the muscles involved in frowning. Children with high narcissistic scores showed a more dramatic and steeper increase in any status change; however, the parents had strong emotional responses only when the children were losing the status. One explanation, according to a joint team from the Department of Developmental Psychology in the Netherlands and the Department of Psychology at Stanford University in the USA that involuntary emotional responses may be genetically passed from one generation to the other.
Narcissist score higher on callous traits
The serotonin transporter (5-HTTLPR) gene may affect conduct problems by disrupting neural structures and circuitry in several brain regions. Amygdala is, for example, critical to negative affect and stress reactivity. The heritable genetic traits show a solid connection to emotional callosity. Gender influences unemotional traits and narcissism as well. Narcissism also predicts defiant personality traits in girls but not boys. Results reported by researchers from the Department of Psychology at the University of California suggest that individual differences in narcissism and callosity scores are potentially related to serotonin transporter genetics. The absence of affective salience may drive emotionally hardened and selfish behaviors. People with specific genetic markers may be less interested in others’ experiences and more focused on “What-s-in-it-for-me.”
Narcissism predisposes to impulsive shopping
Impulsive buying refers to a spontaneous purchasing behavior accompanied by a lack of reflection and a strong desire for immediate pleasure. A golden standard in pinpointing underlying genetic factors is twin studies. Twin research is an invaluable tool in figuring and distinguishing the impact of nature versus nurture. Overall impulsive buyers are relatively young women rather than older men. It is known that maladaptive narcissists are usually neurotic, depressed, anxious, also prompt to aggression and impulsive buying.
Investigators questioned two distinct groups of 152 identical twins and 152 non-identical twins to determine whether genetics play a role in buying habits. According to reports from the international team of psychologists, identical twins shared the same impulsive purchasing patterns. However, the same association wasn't as important for the fraternal twins with 50% shared DNA.
Narcissism is characterized by impulsivity, selfishness, and status-seeking. The exact causes are largely unknown but genetic clues are adding up.
Read more on the genetics of narcissistic personality disorder
Genetically fixed narcissist
Father’s and daughter’s feelings of grandiosity and entitlement maybe similar
Read more on the neuropathology of narcissism