DOI: 10.14704/nq.2016.14.2.948

The Neural Mechanisms Underlying Personality Disorders

Barbara Gawda, Ryszarda Bernacka, Agnieszka Gawda


This article reviews recent research on the neural mechanisms of personality disorders. Functional imaging studies have confirmed a neurobiological basis for personality traits. These types of studies also showed strong evidence for neurobiological foundations for personality pathology. Different types of personality disorders are discussed: borderline, antisocial, schizotypal, and avoidant disorders in terms of their neural correlates. A neuropsychological basis is shown as forming a stable foundation for impaired behavior, affectivity, and relevant cognitive function in subjects with personality disorders. This results in difficulties in the treatment of personality disorders. The presented neuropsychological findings suggest that personality disorders are best understood and treated when neurobiological and psychological findings are considered, just as Gabbard (2005) stated, without dichotomies between the ‘mind and brain.’


personality disorders; neural correlates; borderline personality disorder; antisocial personality; schizotypal personality disorder

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The authors declare that the research was conducted in the absence of any commercial or financial relationships that could be construed as a potential conflict of interest.

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