Welcome to the STEP lab!

We study how positive psychological factors and social relationships benefit health & improve the stress response. The STEP Lab was born in 2013 and is located in sunny Orange County on the campus of the

University of California, Irvine. 

Dr. Pressman's TEDx Talk!
Alumni Spotlight

Emily Wong


Emily Wong is a former UCI honors student and STEP Lab Research Assistant. She is currently working on her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. 



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Rebecca Corona is a former UCI honors student and STEP Lab Research Assistant. She is now a Ph.D. student at the University of California, Berkeley.

STEP Lab News
  • Dr. Pressman receives an AXA Research Award to conduct a study on stress resilience and COVID-19

  • Dr. Pressman receives a 1.2 million dollar award to examine stress and emotional responses to Augmented Reality training in emergency medicine.

  • STEP lab grad student alum and current post doc Dr. John Hunter is joining Chapman University as a faculty member in the fall of 2020! (alongside our other grad lab alum Dr. Brooke Jenkins)

  • STEP lab grad student Marie Cross is joining Penn State as a faculty member in the fall of 2019!

  • STEP lab grad student Amanda Acevedo is joining the National Cancer Institute as a Post Doctoral fellow in the fall of 2019!

  • Dr. Pressman chairs the most submitted to meeting ever (over 77 years) of the American Psychosomatic Society 

  • LA times feature on smart phone-security blanket study

  • Dr. Pressman featured on Efficient Coaching Podcast

  • Updated Review on Happiness & Health from the STEP LAB

  • Dr. Pressman talks about smiling at the University of Michigan POS LINKS series.

  • Stephen Colbert on a STEP LAB smiling & stress study

Work with us!

Are you interested in getting more involved with research and think the STEP Lab is right for you? Find out more and apply here

Looking for information on letters of recommendation or grad school? Check our resources page!

Principal Investigator:

Sarah Pressman



Lab Manager:

Regine Deguzman