Graduate Students


Bonnie Armstrong

M.A. Ryerson University 2015
B.A. (Honours) University of Waterloo 2011

Bonnie is interested in judgment and decision making in younger and older adults. Her Master’s thesis explored how Bayesian inference is affected by the format in which decision-relevant information is presented. Focusing on the domain of medical diagnosis, Bonnie compared description-based and experience-based formats for communicating risk and probability.

Bonnie’s research interests include:

  • Statistical comprehension and medical decision making
  • Neurocognitive processes involved in Bayesian reasoning
  • Neuroimaging
  • Aging
  • Experience-based learning through simulation

Erika Sparrow

M.A. Ryerson University 2016
B.Sc. (Honours) Carleton Unversity 2013

Erika’s research aims to explore how altruistic goals affect decision making across the lifespan. Her Master’s thesis focuses on the influence of altruism on temporal discounting, a phenomenon whereby delayed rewards are de-valued compared to more immediate rewards. Additionally, Erika is leading a collaborative project within the MAD lab that examines how acute stress influences temporal discounting in younger and older adults.

Erika’s research interests include:

  • Temporal discounting
  • Altruism
  • Cognitive aging
  • Stress










Farrah Kudus

B.Sc. (Honours) McMaster University 2016

Farrah is interested in the interdisciplinary nature of human memory, along with its effects on other cognitive functions, such as decision-making. Her undergraduate thesis explored the willingness of trauma patients to potentially use memory-dampening medications as a treatment for psychological trauma.

Farrah’s Research Interests Include:

  • Emotional memory
  • Delayed gratification
  • Attention
  • Future thinking










Liyana Swirsky

B.Sc. (Honours) University of Guelph 2014

Liyana is interested in the differential trajectories of memory systems across the lifespan. She is particularly interested in the encoding processes that change with cognitive aging, such as the tendency for older adults to indiscriminately encore and link information relative to younger adults. Additionally, she aims to investigate capacities that are preserved with age such as memory biases for high-value information.

Liyana’s Research Interests Include:

  • Motivated cognition
  • Hyper-binding
  • Value-directed encoding
  • Novelty and reward
  • Goal-directed learning