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Associate Professor of Psychological Science, University of California, Irvine

Dr. Sarah Pressman is an award winning Associate Professor of Psychological Science in the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine. Dr. Pressman’s work seeks to understand how positive emotions are beneficial for objective physical health and longevity. Her experimental work focuses on the possible pathways by which positive psychosocial factors might “get under the skin” to influence biology, such as immune function, cardiovascular activity, neuroendocrine hormones, behavioral pathways, and even smiling. Dr. Pressman is especially interested in the role of positive psychosocial factors in protecting us from the harmful effects of stress and whether specific types of positive emotions can confer resilience and success in the face of adversity. Dr. Pressman’s research findings have been published in top psychology journals, and featured in media outlets like the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Colbert Report.

Dr. Pressman received her PhD in Social, Personality & Health Psychology from Carnegie Mellon University and completed a post doctoral fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh in Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine.


  • 2012–present
    Associate Professor, UC-Irvine


  • 2008 
    University of Pittsburgh, Post Doctoral Fellowship
  • 2006 
    Carnegie Mellon University, PhD
  • 2003 
    Carnegie Mellon University, MS


Early Career Award Winner in Health Psychology (Division 38, American Psychological Association), Herbert Weiner Early Career Award (American Psychosomatic Society)