The Neural Correlates of Narcissism: Is There a Connection with Desire for Fame and Celebrity Worship?

Sydney Ash, Dara Greenwood, Julian Paul Keenan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


(1) Objective: Narcissism is characterized by emotional regulation deficits, a lack of empathy for others, and extreme self-focus. Narcissism has also been linked to an increased desire for fame and celebrity worship. Here, the neuroscience underlying narcissism is examined in order to determine what regions and networks of the brain are altered when non-narcissistic individuals are compared to participants with both grandiose and vulnerable narcissism. (2) Methods: The behavioral relationships between grandiose narcissism and desire for fame and vulnerable narcissism and celebrity worship are explored, along with a possible relationship at the neural level between these constructs. In this paper, we review research demonstrating that increased levels of grandiose narcissism are associated with an increase in obsession with fame, while vulnerable narcissism is associated with celebrity worship. (3) Results: Based on current data, the frontal regions underlie narcissism and also likely underlie celebrity worship and desire for fame. This tenuous conclusion is based on a limited number of studies. (4) Conclusions: The brain areas associated with grandiose narcissism may be associated with an intense desire for fame as well, while brain regions associated with vulnerable narcissism may be similar in celebrity worshipers. Future research studies on the brain that are specifically designed to test these relationships at a neurological level are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1499
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2023


  • celebrity worship
  • fame
  • frontal cortex
  • frontostriatal
  • narcissism


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