Two Views of : Vicissitudes of the SelfShame: Vicissitudes of the Self

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Originally published in Contemporary Psychology: APA Review of Books, 1993, Vol 38(12), 1265–1266. Reviews the book, Shame: The Exposed Self by Michael Lewis (see record 1992-97054-000). In this book, Michael Lewis proposes that shame is the most important emotion of all, the only one to appear in the biblical story of the creation Adam and Eve disobeyed. The result was shame, exposure, annihilation of their selves and their previous lives. This emotion is fundamental to our human condition because it reflects failure of the self. As compared with embarrassment, which can be mild and transient, arising when we become an object of attention for any reason, shame is always intense. Lewis's work has ranged widely across methods, topics, and activities He has been the first to show, in carefully constructed experiments on small babies learning instrumental tasks, how emotions accompany success and failure. He has been one of the foremost theorists of the development of the self and its emotional bases and has done innovative work using interviews, observations, and clinical methods. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved)

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