What is a cerebral or a somatic narcissist? Let’s find out what the traits of each type are.

It’s fair to say that by now, most people will have a pretty good idea of what a narcissist is.

For those that don’t know: Narcissism is an overwhelming admiration for oneself, a grandiose attitude to one’s talents and an exaggerated sense of self-importance.

Psychological studies on narcissism have now divided narcissists into two types – cerebral and somatic.

Cerebral narcissists use their brain and intelligence to impress those around them, whilst somatic narcissists use their body (“soma” comes from ancient Greek and means ‘body’).

There are some psychologists that believe you are either one or the other, and others that think narcissists can switch between the two states.

So how can we discern which is which and what should we be looking out for?

Cerebral narcissist

  • Uses their mind to prove their uniqueness
  • Highly intelligent
  • Huge ego
  • Grandiose achievements
  • Holds a position of power and authority
  • No interest in sex

Cerebral narcissists will either be highly intelligent, or they will pretend to be. The one thing that they want praise for is their amazing intellect and to them, their body is merely an inconvenience.

Cerebral narcissists will hold positions of high power and authority where they have a great responsibility. They are able to convince others to do what they want because of their supreme self-confidence. They surround themselves with people who are likely to be push-overs. They consider themselves to be God-like and untouchable when it comes to the law.

Cerebral narcissists will want to dazzle you with their academic achievements, their command of the English language and their scholarly intelligence. To them, the mind is everything and their bodies just get in the way, which is why many of them are celibate.

Somatic narcissist

  • Uses their body to prove their uniqueness
  • Obsessed with looking good
  • Always looks immaculately dressed
  • May have cosmetic surgery
  • Embarks on intense fitness regimes
  • Extremely active sexually

Somatic narcissists are obsessed with their body; how good-looking they are, how attractive they look, what they can do with it. The somatic narcissist will take every opportunity to flaunt their body in order to accept forthcoming compliments.

They have quite often had cosmetic surgery to keep themselves looking young and attractive, and are always immaculately turned out, wearing the latest fashion. They believe their bodies are to be admired and as such may go on extreme diets, weightlifting and intense exercise programmes to hone and keep their physique.

A somatic narcissist will brag about his or her sexual conquests, but will also interpret any kind of behaviour from others as an invitation to have sex with them. If they do have sex, the somatic narcissist will use the other person’s body as an object for them to gain satisfaction from.

How do cerebral and somatic narcissists manipulate people?

All narcissists use manipulation techniques to get what they want, it’s just that a cerebral narcissist uses their mind and a somatic narcissist uses their body.

With cerebral narcissists, they will blind you with their intelligence and brain power in order to exert power over you. They will use complicated language or unfamiliar words to confuse you so they can manipulate you. They will appear to be extremely intelligent and untouchable and will use this appearance to intimidate you.

Somatic narcissists will use their appearance to exert control over you. They may use the fact that they are beautiful or handsome to get their own way. They will draw you in at first with you believing you are lucky to be dating someone so gorgeous, and then once they have had enough, they drop you without a word or warning.

Can cerebral and somatic traits overlap?

There are researchers that believe narcissists share both cerebral and somatic traits, and one is dominant whilst the other is submissive. Depending on the narcissist’s circumstances, they either use the cerebral part of their narcissism or the somatic part.

For instance, a cerebral trait might be dominant when a narcissist wants to impress someone they believe is highly intelligent, whereas a somatic trait would dominate in a situation where good looks are important.

Whether someone is a cerebral or somatic narcissist, they will both try and manipulate you and deceive you in order to get what they need – complete and utter admiration.

“Methinks no face so gracious is as mine,
No shape so true, no truth of such account;
And for myself mine own worth do define,
As I all other in all worth’s surmount.”

William Shakespeare, sonnet 62.


  1. http://www.healthyplace.com/
  2. https://www.quora.com/

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Bahtiyar

    I am sure these two traits can be equally dominant in a narcissist. For example, I am both cerebral and somatic. I know 10 languages, very good at different sciences, at the same time, I am highlu obsessed with bodybuilding. So I am proud of my intelectual and physical achievements!

  2. Martin

    Love your humour Bahtiyar 🙂

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