The Rise of Consciousness and the Development of Emotional Life

Michael Lewis

Hardcovere-bookprint + e-book
October 31, 2013
ISBN 9781462512522
Price: $53.00
352 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
October 31, 2013
ePub and PDF ?
Price: $53.00
352 Pages
print + e-book
Hardcover + e-Book (ePub and PDF) ?
Price: $106.00 $58.30
352 Pages

Synthesizing decades of influential research and theory, Michael Lewis demonstrates the centrality of consciousness for emotional development. At first, infants' competencies constitute innate reactions to particular physical events in the child's world. These “action patterns” are not learned, but are readily influenced by temperament and social interactions. With the rise of consciousness, these early competencies become reflected feelings, giving rise to the self-conscious emotions of empathy, envy, and embarrassment, and, later, shame, guilt, and pride. Focusing on typically developing children, Lewis also explores problems of atypical emotional development.

Winner—William James Book Award, Society for General Psychology (APA Division 1)

“A dense, rich book that is certain to change how you understand emotional life….Lewis’s rigorous, both experimentally and observationally grounded, developmental psychology is integrative. Contemporary perspectives in the neurobiology of psychological conditions and in psychoanalysis are brought into the book's conversation, as well as relevant contributions from an astonishing diversity of other disciplines. Lewis's melding of nuanced developmental research findings with a sophisticated conceptual framework for considering emotional life will challenge readers grown accustomed to thinking in more rigid silos.”

Psychiatric Times

“Crystallizing his five decades of creative and field-shaping scientific leadership, Michael Lewis provides an erudite, integrative, and provocative frame for the study of emotional development and consciousness. His vision for theory-predicated research constitutes required reading for all developmental scientists concerned with fundamental processes linking individuals to their world, and will be a foundation for scholarly progress for decades to come.”

—Richard M. Lerner, PhD, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and Director, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University

“Lewis offers a panoramic vision of the field of emotion research and of the developmental trajectory of the child with respect to emotion. At the heart of Lewis's approach is an appreciation for the way in which children's growing consciousness (in particular, self-consciousness) transforms their emotional lives. The book is rooted in evolutionary theory; it acknowledges the existence of early, unlearned, emotionally charged action patterns. At the same time, it shows how children's developing awareness of self—and of cultural norms—leads to the emergence of distinctly human emotions such as pride and guilt. Beginning as well as advanced students of emotion will be impressed by the breadth and coherence of Lewis's vision.”

—Paul L. Harris, DPhil, Harvard Graduate School of Education

“Lewis has taken on most of the difficult topics in developmental child psychology, and now he does so again. This book offers a challenging, articulate argument that brings a thoroughgoing developmental perspective to the debates about consciousness, based on an intelligent synthesis of years of empirical work.”

—Ronald G. Barr, MDCM, Canada Research Chair in Community Child Health Research, University of British Columbia

“This readable volume integrates Lewis's extensive body of research to set forth a comprehensive model of emotional development during infancy and early childhood. While setting forth many provocative ideas, Lewis fearlessly tackles some big questions about emotional development: how it is related to consciousness and identity; its involvement in lying and deception; and how it can go awry.”

—Linda A. Camras, PhD, Department of Psychology, DePaul University

“Lewis, a pioneer in the scientific study of emotions, has given us decades of groundbreaking theoretical insights supported by incredibly solid scientific methods. With this book, he has produced an intellectual masterpiece that addresses some of the most important questions about the development of emotions, consciousness, and even culture. Lewis's game-changing insights are gained not only from his own work but also from other important work in psychology, evolutionary biology, and philosophy. He provides a fusion of ideas concerning how both biology and culture actively create our ever-adaptable selves. As a text in upper-level undergraduate or graduate courses on emotions, this book offers students a broad perspective informed by excellent research; it is written in an engaging style with great examples.”

—Eddie Harmon-Jones, PhD, School of Psychology, The University of New South Wales, Australia

“Lewis's foray into how emotional consciousness develops in children is a treasure trove of scientific insight and a fascinating read.”

—Joseph E. LeDoux, PhD, Center for Neural Science, New York University

“Lewis's compelling account of the development of emotions is informed by Darwinian evolution, cognizant of brain maturation as well as culture, and respectful of past theorists while citing the latest research—all sifted through wonderfully good judgment. This book is now the best place to begin the study of emotion and mind.”

—Melvin Konner, MD, PhD, author of The Evolution of Childhood: Relationships, Emotion, Mind

“This book invites us into a dialogue about how the self comes to know itself. Lewis lucidly deconstructs the concept of consciousness as a developmental process, responsive to myriad social and environmental influences, but also incorporating the body's evolution-dependent action patterns. Lewis's contribution to our understanding of consciousness, emotion, and the self is incisive, comprehensive, and accessible. As a reader, I felt as though I'd been invited to join Lewis in a penetrating and wide-ranging conversation in which he enthusiastically anticipated any challenges or disagreement I might have had.”

—Carolyn Saarni, PhD, Department of Counseling, Sonoma State University

Table of Contents

1. Studying Emotional Development

2. Deconstructing Emotions: Elicitors, Action Patterns, and Experiences

3. Multiple Emotions and Moods

4. The Early Emotions

5. The Rise of Consciousness

6. The Transforming Role of Consciousness: Self-Conscious Emotions, Social Relationships, and Mentalism

7. Lying and Deception in Emotional Life

8. The Self-Conscious Emotions

9. Temperament, Emotion, and Stress

10. The Socialization of Emotion

11. Emotional Development Gone Awry

12. The Fugue

About the Author

Michael Lewis, PhD, is University Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry and Director of the Institute for the Study of Child Development at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. He is also Professor of Psychology, Education, Nursing, and Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and serves on the Executive Committee of the Cognitive Science Center. Dr. Lewis is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association (APA), the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, and is currently in the top 1.5% of scientists referenced in the Social Science Index. He is a recipient of the Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society from the APA, the Hedi Levenback Pioneer Award from the New York Zero-to-Three Network, and the Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Child Development Award from the Society for Research in Child Development. Dr. Lewis has published over 450 journal articles and book chapters and 35 books, including Social Cognition and the Acquisition of Self, Children's Emotions and Moods, Shame: The Exposed Self, and Altering Fate.


Developmental and personality/social psychologists; also of interest to child clinical psychologists and other mental health practitioners.

Course Use

May serve as a supplemental text in graduate-level courses.