How spontaneous brain activity and narcissistic features shape social interaction

Andrea Scalabrini, Zirui Huang, Clara Mucci, Mauro Gianni Perrucci, Antonio Ferretti, Andrea Fossati, Gian Luca Romani, Georg Northoff, Sjoerd J.H. Ebisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


There is an increasing interest in how ongoing spontaneous brain activity and personality provide a predisposition for the processing of environmental demands. It further has been suggested that the brain has an inherent sensitivity to the social environment. Here we tested in healthy volunteers if spontaneous brain activity contributes to a predisposition for social behavior and how this is modulated by narcissistic personality features associated with poor interpersonal functioning. Functional magnetic resonance imaging included a resting state and an experimental paradigm focusing on the anticipation of actively touching an animate (human hand) versus an inanimate target (mannequin hand). The experimental task induced a significant modulation of neural activity in left postcentral gyrus (PostCG), right culmen and, co-varying with narcissistic features, in right anterior insula (AI). Neural activity in anticipation of the animate target significantly correlated with spontaneous activity during the resting state indexed by the Power Law Exponent (PLE) in PostCG and AI. Finally, the correlation between spontaneous and task-induced activity in AI was mediated by narcissistic features. These findings provide novel evidence for a relationship between intrinsic brain activity and social behavior and show how personality could contribute to individual differences in our predisposition to approach the animate world.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9986
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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