September 20, 2016

4:00-5:00 p.m.

Free and open to the public; reception to follow.

Michigan Ross Campus, Blau Hall, 700 East University, Colloquium, 5th Floor, Ann Arbor


Sarah Pressman
Associate Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior
University of California, Irvine
About the talk

Smiling is a simple but powerful behavior with interesting ties to social, physical, and mental wellbeing. In her talk, Pressman will outline some of her recent research on the positive and negative effects of this simple act in both natural and experimental paradigms.

Outcomes discussed will range from how smiling alters physical stress trajectories, perceptions, and responses to pain, and even how often individuals go to visit a doctor. We also explore behavioral effects of smiling, and reveal the surprising ways that smiling may alter whether or not individuals behave immorally and how positive expressions may alter risky decision making.

Pressman will end with a discussion of the possible mechanisms underlying these effects along with important needs in future research.

About Pressman

Sarah Pressman is an award-winning Associate Professor of Psychology and Social Behavior in the School of Social Ecology at the University of California, Irvine.

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. 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.

Her 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.

Watch Pressman’s TEDX talk: “Why doctors should care about happiness.”

Fall 2016 Positive Links Speaker Series host

Kim Cameron, co-founder of the Center for Positive Organizations; William Russell Kelly Chair of Management and Organizations; Professor of Higher Education


The Center for Positive Organizations thanks University of Michigan Learning & Professional DevelopmentSanger Leadership Center, Tauber Institute for Global Operations, Samuel Zell & Robert H. Lurie Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies, and Diane and Paul Jones (MBA ‘75), for their support of the 2016-17 Positive Links Speaker Series.