Andrea Wilkinson, PhD

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto




PhD, Psychology, Ryerson University, 2013
M.A., Psychology, Ryerson University, 2009
B.A. (Hons), Psychology & Gerontology, McMaster University, 2006


Time in the Cognitive Aging Lab (CAL):

MA student, 2007-2009

PhD student, 2009-2013

Andrea initially worked in the lab as a Research Assistant from September 2006 to August 2007, where she was actively involved in almost all of the projects conducted in the CAL. She then joined the lab as our first Master degree student in September 2007. In 2009, she became CAL’s first PhD student and graduated in June 2014. While completing her graduate degrees, Andrea’s main research interest focused on investigating the effect of lab-based computerized programs on maintaining or improving cognitive functions in health older adults.

Andrea is currently a CIHR-Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) Health System Impact (HSI) Fellow, with the OLTCA serving as the partner organization and the University of Toronto as academic institution. Her research interests include quality of care and well-being for residents living in long-term care (LTC) homes, their families and LTC staff.


Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department, University of Toronto (October 2015 – current)

Andrea is currently a postdoctoral research fellow in the Interactive Media Lab in the

Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department at the University of Toronto. She was funded by an AGE-WELL Graduate Student and Postdoctoral Award in Technology and Aging (2015-2017). Andrea is the lead researcher in a transdisciplinary team, consisting of experts in cognitive aging (Wilkinson), human factors, app development and user interface design (Chignell), industrial design and manufacturing (Eclectic Industries Inc.) and recreation therapy (O’Neill). The overall aim of her AGE-WELL funded research project was to investigate the use of innovative technological solutions to improve quality of life and health in older adults with dementia living in LTC homes. Andrea was responsible for all aspects of the research, including designing and executing the study, collecting and analyzing data, presenting and publishing research findings to key stakeholders (LTC staff, residents with dementia and their families) and the academic community.


Postdoctoral Fellowship, Architectural Design and Health, Bridgepoint Collaboratory for Research and Innovation, Bridgepoint Active Healthcare (December 2013 – September 2015)

Andrea worked with Dr. Celeste Alvaro on her CIHR Partnerships for Health System

Improvement and Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care funded research program assessing the impact of architectural design on psychosocial well-being and health outcomes of patients and staff. During this work, Andrea gained expertise in conducting a post-occupancy evaluation (POE) using a mixed-methods approach. Andrea was involved in all phases of the POE, including preparation of research materials and data collection protocols, software programming, research coordination, data collection, statistical data analysis, publications and presentations.


Publications (selected)

Wilkinson, A., Kanik, M., O’Neill, J., Charoenkitkarn, V., & Chignell, M. (2017). Ambient Activity Technologies for Managing Responsive Behaviours in Dementia. In Proceedings of the International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Health Care (Vol. 6, No. 1, pp. 28-35). Sage India: New Delhi, India: SAGE Publications.

Wilkinson, A., Charoenkitkarn, V., O’Neill, J., Kanik, M., & Chignell, M. (2017). Journeys to Engagement: Ambient Activity Technologies for People living with Dementia. In Proceedings of the 26th International Conference on World Wide Web Companion. International World Wide Web Conferences Steering Committee (pp. 1103-1110). doi: 10.1145/3041021.3054933

Wilkinson, A.J., & Yang, L. (2016). Long-term maintenance of inhibition training effects in older adults: 1- and 3-year follow-up. Journals of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 71 (4), 622-629. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbu179.

Wilkinson, A. J., & Yang, L. (2016). Inhibition plasticity in older adults: Practice and transfer effects using a multiple task approach. Neural Plasticity, Volume 2016, Article ID 9696402, 12 pages. doi: 10.1155/2016/9696402

Alvaro, C., Kostovski, D., & Wilkinson, A. (2016). Assessing value of design: the Bridgepoint PoE. In Proceedings of the European Healthcare Design Congress: Research, Policy, Practice. SALUS Global Knowledge Exchange: Essex, United Kingdom. Retrieved from

Alvaro, C., Wilkinson, A. J., Gallant, S.N., Kostovski, D., & Gardner, P. (2016). Evaluating intention and effect: The impact of healthcare facility design on patient and staff well-being. Health Environments Research & Design (HERD) Journal, 9, 82-104. doi: 10.1177/1937586715605779

Wilkinson, A. J., & Yang, L. (2015). Cognitive Plasticity. The Encyclopedia of Adulthood and Aging, pp. 1-5, (Ed., S. K. Whitbourne). Wiley Blackwell.

Steele Gray, C., Wilkinson, A., Alvaro, C., Wilkinson, K., & Harvey, M. (2015). Building resilience and organizational readiness during healthcare facility redevelopment transitions: Is it possible to thrive? Health Environments Research & Design (HERD), 9, 10-33. doi: 10.1177/1937586715593552

Wilkinson, A. J., Yang, L., & Dyson, B. (2013). Modulating younger and older adults’ performance in ignoring pictorial information during a word matching task. Brain and Cognition, 83, 351-359.

Yang, L., Li, J., Spaniol, J., Hasher, L., Wilkinson, A. J., Yu, J., & Niu, Y. (2013). Aging, culture, and memory for socially meaningful item-context associations: An East-West cross cultural comparison study. PLoS ONE, 8. e60703. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060703

Wilkinson, A. J., & Yang, L. (2012). Plasticity of inhibition in older adults: Retest practice and transfer effects. Psychology and Aging, 27, 606-615. doi: 10.1037/a002|5926

Yang, L., Reed, M., Russo, F., & Wilkinson, A. (2009). A new look at retest learning in older adults: Learning in the absence of item-specific effects. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, 64B, 470-473. doi: 10.1093/geronb/gbp040


Reports (selected)

Wilkinson, A., Chignell, M., Charlton, J., Todorov, H., Kanik, M., O’Neill, J., Charlton, S., & Blanchard, R. (2017). Ambient Activity Technology – A Journey to Engagement: A Research Evaluation – The Impact of ABBY, a personalized activity technology, on people living with dementia in long-term care. Available at 

Alvaro, C., Kostovski, D., Wilkinson, A., & Gardner, P. (2015, March). Design and Evaluation: The Path to Better Outcomes. The Final Report on the Bridgepoint Active Healthcare Pre and Post Occupancy Evaluation. Report prepared for the Health Capital Investment Branch, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long Term Care. Available at: