Dr. Lewis studies how media satisfy and violate basic human motivations, and the role of these motivations in determining the formation and maintenance of audience groups. A central focus of his research is to understand the psychology of media appeal, but he also hopes this research will lead to a comprehensive understanding of how the media strengthen, influence, and maintain individual and group values. Important in this area is his research on how intuitive altruistic and egoistic needs determine media choice, appeal, and production.
For example, his recent research has examined how intuitive and deliberative moral judgments determine the appeal of stories for children and adults. Additionally, he has studied how media producers depict moralistic and selfish concerns in content for different target audiences (e.g., children of different developmental levels, individuals of different ethnic groups, and subcultures with different political ideologies). Lastly, he has examined the role of basic human motivations in videogame enjoyment and mood repair. His work has appeared in outlets such as the International Journal of Arts & Technology, Mass Communication & Society, and the Journal of Communication.
2008 – 2012
Michigan State University — PhD (Doc