Michael Lewis, Ph.D.
University Distinguished Professor and Director
Institute for the Study of Child Development
Phone: (732) 235-7700
Michael Lewis, Ph.D. 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 also is Professor of Psychology, Education, and Biomedical Engineering at Rutgers University, serves on the Rutgers University Cognitive Science Center, and is founding Director of the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Autism Center. His research has focused on normal and deviant emotional and intellectual development. His early work focused on the normal course of children's development. This enabled him to articulate the sequence of developmental capacities of the child in regard to its intellectual growth and relate this to changes in the organization of its central nervous system functioning. His discoveries of techniques to measure CNS functioning, through the use of the habituation-dishabituation paradigm, are widely used throughout the country for measuring and predicting dysfunctional growth as well as normal cognitive development. Using these measurement instruments, Dr. Lewis has developed computer-based techniques for enhancing intellectual ability in children suffering from a variety of disorders associated with developmental delays. These include children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, preterm infants, and children with cerebral palsy.
Dr. Lewis has written and edited over 40 books many of which have been translated into other languages, including German, Italian, Polish, Russian, Danish, Japanese, Chinese, and Portuguese. In his 1979 book, Social Cognition and the Acquisition of Self, he introduced the use of self-representation through mirror recognition, and showed that self-representation emerges in the second half of the second year of life. His 1983 book, Children's Emotions and Moods: Developmental Theory and Measurement, was the first volume devoted to the study of normal emotional development, and the Handbook of Emotions (1993; 2000; 2008) received Choice Magazine’s 1995 Outstanding Academic Book Award - a fourth edition was just published (2016). His recent book, The Rise of Consciousness and the Development of Emotional Life (2014), was awarded the 2014 William James Book Award by the American Psychological Association. This book provides a new understanding of emotional development from infancy through childhood and beyond. It synthesizes decades of influential research to explore how biology, culture, and consciousness interact to shape the growing child’s increasingly complex emotional life. Currently, he is working on his new book, Lying and Deception in Everyday Life.
Through his pioneering efforts in both theory and measurement, Dr. Lewis has been one of the leaders in the study of emotions and child development. His 1992 book, Shame: The Exposed Self, continued his interest in emotional development, turning attention to the little studied areas of self-conscious emotions. Dr. Lewis’ book, Altering Fate: Why the Past does not Predict the Future (1997), describes various developmental theories and argues for the proposition that early childhood does not seal one's fate. Here he shows that children's environments, at whatever age, determine to a large extent how children behave, and he suggests that altering environments should be the major task in effecting social adjustment and mental health. This book was a finalist for the 1998 Eleanor Maccoby Book Award.
In addition to the above, Dr. Lewis has also authored Language Interaction Intervention Program: A Workshop Curriculum for Parent Training (1991), as well as two research monographs, A Developmental Study of Information Processing within the First Three Years of Life: Response Decrement to a Redundant Signal (1969), and The Determinants of Children's Responses to Separation (1977). He has also edited the Handbook of Developmental Psychopathology (1990, 2000, 2014), the first handbook on the subject and currently in its third edition, and an Introduction to Infant Development (2002; 2007; Canadian edition, 2011). His most recent edited works are Gender Differences in Prenatal Substance Exposure (2012) and The Cambridge Handbook of Environment in Human Development (2012). Additionally, he has had published over 450 articles and chapters in professional journals and scholarly texts.
Dr. Lewis currently serves as consulting editor of Infants and Young Children, Journal of Childhood and Developmental Disorders, Pediatric Dimensions, Current Psychiatry Reviews and Current Pediatric Reviews, and has served as a consulting editor of Psychological Inquiry, SRCD Monographs, Journal of Sex Roles, Psychology of Women Quarterly, Child Development, Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology, Mothers Today & Working Parents, Developmental Psychology, Infant Mental Health Journal, Human Development, Roeper Review, and Infant Behavior and Development. In addition, he has served and currently serves on many national committees, such as American Foundation of Maternal and Child Health, International Association for Infant Mental Health, William T. Grant Foundation National Consortium on Infant Stress, New Jersey's Governor's Council on Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, and Center for Advancement of Health.
Among his honors, Dr. Lewis received the 2009 Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society from the American Psychological Association. In 2012, The New York Zero-to-Three Network honored Dr. Lewis with the Hedi Levenback Pioneer award for his pioneering research in child development. The Society for Research in Child Development, the leading academic child development organization, gave Dr. Lewis the 2013 award for the Distinguished Scientific Contributions to Child Development, in recognition of his lifetime contribution to the scientific body of knowledge and understanding of children’s development; also in 2013, Dr. Lewis received the R. Walter Schlesinger, MD Basic Science Mentoring Award from UMDNJ - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Most recently, in 2015, the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Alumni Association gave him the Honorary Alumni Award. Dr. Lewis also is a Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences, the American Psychological Association, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, as well as the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. In 1995, he was ranked number 1 by a University of Notre Dame study in terms of the impact of scientists who are most referenced and productive in the field of developmental sciences, and he is currently in the top 1.5% of scientists referenced in the Social Science Index.
Dr. Lewis has delivered numerous honorary lectures, including the Pickering Lecture, Hamilton University, Canada; Masters Lecture at the American Psychological Association; 50th Anniversary Address at the Eastern Psychological Association; 20th Anniversary William A. Schonfeld Address; Plenary Speaker at the American Academy of Pediatrics; Westmead Lecture in Sydney, Australia; Harris Lecture at the University of Chicago; National Child Research Foundation Visiting Lecture, Paediatric Society of New Zealand; Keynote Speaker, First International Conference on Developmental Disabilities in Beit Issie Shapiro, Israel; and the Theodore D. Tjossem Memorial Lecture and Edwards Lectures at the University of Washington, Seattle. In addition, he was the Keynote Speaker, Conference on Altering Fates: Illusion and Reality, in Sydney, Australia; Distinguished Keynote Speaker, Oslo Workshop on Early Attention, Interaction and Communication, University of Oslo, Department of Psychology, Norway; and Lectio Magistralis Address, The Development of Typical and Deviant Emotional Development at The Sapienza University of Rome, Department of Dynamic and Clinical Psychology, Italy.
For a full list of Dr. Lewis' publications see: Dr. Michael Lewis Publications