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Department of Psychology

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Julia Spaniol

Julia Spaniol


Associate Professor & Canada Research Chair in Cognitive Aging


PhD, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill




416-979-5000 x2268

Email Address:


M.A.D. Lab



Keywords:  Memory; decision making; motivation and reward; cognitive aging

I received my doctorate in cognitive psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and subsequently completed postdoctoral work at Duke University Medical Center and at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest in Toronto. I joined the Department of Psychology at Ryerson University in August, 2007.

My research program investigates the impact of normal human aging on cognition. My work has focused on two aspects of cognitive aging: age differences in memory for context (e.g., where and when something happened), and age differences in decision making (e.g., which of two choice options is more attractive). I also study the effects of motivation and reward on cognition in younger and older adults. A unifying feature of my research program is the combination of theory-driven laboratory experiments and formal quantitative modeling. In addition to behavioural methods, I use brain imaging (functional magnetic resonance imaging, fMRI) to study the neural bases of age-related cognitive change.

I teach undergraduate and graduate-level courses in cognition (PSY 308, PSY 654, PS 8507, PS8507, PS8512) as well as introductory psychology (PSY 102).

Please visit my lab website for more information, and feel free to contact me with questions and comments.


Selected Publications:

Spaniol, J., & Wegier, P. (2012). Decisions from experience: adaptive information search and risk taking in younger and older adults. Frontiers in Decision Neuroscience. 6(36). doi: 10.3389/fnins.2012.00036.

Spaniol, J., & Grady, C. L. (2012). Aging and the neural correlates of source memory: Over-recruitment and functional reorganization. Neurobiology of Aging, 33, 425.e3-425.e18.

Bowen, H. J., & Spaniol, J. (2011). Chronic exposure to violent video games is not associated with alterations of emotional memory. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 25, 906-916.

Spaniol, J., Voss, A., Bowen, H. J., & Grady, C. L. (2011). Motivational incentives modulate age differences in visual perception. Psychology and Aging, 26, 932-939.

Spaniol, J., Davidson, P. S. R., Kim, A. S. N., Han, H., Moscovitch, M., & Grady, C. L. (2009). Event-related fMRI studies of episodic encoding and retrieval: Meta-analyses using activation likelihood estimation. Neuropsychologia, 47, 1765-1779.


Professional Affiliations:

  • Cognitive Neuroscience Society
  • Organization for Human Brain Mapping
  • Psychonomic Society


Hot! Psych Feature:

Remembering the Good: A Study of Emotional Memory and Aging 

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Faculty Information

Mailing Address:

Department of Psychology
Ryerson University
350 Victoria Street
Toronto, Ontario
M5B 2K3, Canada

Fax: 416-979-5273


Campus Location

Offices: 380 Victoria St. [map]
Research Labs: 105 Bond St. [map]


Faculty Positions