In my home and at work, I have my Jiminy Cricket stuffed animals. While recovering from depression, I felt ashamed of some of the things that I had done and how I had hurt my family. I wished that I had listened to my conscience but the effects of the illness and the horrible attraction to addictive behaviors were too strong. Jiminy Cricket has become the symbol of my recovery and the representation of my conscience. As he sang to Pinocchio, “Always Let Your Conscience be Your Guide”.
In 2014, researchers in the UK discovered a portion of the brain that makes you wonder if you did the right thing or the wrong thing. This region of the brain is called the lateral frontal pole. This is the region that monitors the goodness of the choices we take and don’t take. In other words, this region appears to be our connection to morality.
Research also has shown that monkeys don’t have one of these. Perhaps only humans do. But what about narcissists? Do they have a conscience? They don’t seem to. Here is what Linda Martinez-Lewi, Ph.D. Narcissistic Personality Clinical Expert had to say:
“Conscience, the capacity to distinguish what is right and wrong and to experience guilt when we have done harm to another is absent in the narcissist. These individuals do everything in their power not to get caught in their deceptive, unethical and illegals deeds. For them, this is ‘conscience.’
The narcissist is ruthlessly goal oriented to the extent that he or she is always in the fast lane to achieve his goals regardless of the harm and distress that it causes others. If lying is the best way to win–that’s fine. The narcissist rationalizes his lies or doesn’t even acknowledge them.”
So perhaps a narcissist doesn’t have a lateral frontal pole either. Maybe our newly-elected POTUS will donate his brain to science and then we’ll know for sure.