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About Us

The Cognitive Aging Lab is a research and training facility in the Department of Psychology at Simon Fraser University. Under the direction of Dr. Wendy Loken Thornton, members of our lab are committed to conducting research that will help understand the interplay between cognitive abilities, health, and psychosocial factors in older adults and those with chronic health conditions. 


Many people experience changes in mental abilities, such as memory or concentration, as they get older.  For some, these changes may be barely noticeable, whereas for others, they can be disruptive and distressing.   We are investigating what seems to underlie these changes, and to what extent they are affected by common age-related illnesses like high blood pressure or diabetes.   We are also interested in abilities that may be resistant to age changes, or may improve with the experiences gained across the lifespan.  

We are also investigating how well typical measures of problem solving predict actual or “real world” functioning in older adults.  There is some evidence to suggest that “everyday” problem solving measures may actually do a better job of predicting functioning than typical tests.  Our lab is working to develop better measures of everyday cognitive functioning that may give us a clearer picture of whether or not these abilities decline, or improve with age.  

To learn more about our work, please visit our Research page.



Research in our lab is currently funded through several provincial and federal grant agencies, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), and the Kidney Research Scientist Core Education and National Training Program (KRESCENT).