Research participants walking and stretching
With so many ways to participate in our research, there's bound to be a study that interests you and suits your needs. Photo: researcher Kristina Kowalski with participants.

Tracking age-related changes in thinking abilities and mood using a smartphone app

Why is this study being done?

The purpose of this study is to investigate if different types of exercise programs, provided free to participants, significantly improve the well-being and health of older adults (aged 65 years or older) currently living in Canada.

Am I eligible to participate?

This study is looking for individuals aged 65 years or older, currently living in Canada and must own a smartphone. Interested participants must not have a diagnosis of: memory impairment, major illness, neurological disease or injury, visual impairment or hand tremor. 

What is required if I choose to participate?

This study entails a brief telephone screening interview to ensure eligibility. Participants will then be asked to download the free MyCogHealth app to their smartphone.

Participants will be asked to complete short questions about daily activities and mood as well as complete various brain games to test memory and attention. These activities will take place each day for 2 weeks at a time, every 3 months for a total of 6 months. The estimated time to complete the daily activities is 10 minutes per day. The total time commitment over the 6 month period is approximately 7 hours. 

Who is conducting this research?

Dr. Scott Hofer will be supervising this study and will be conducted by Jonathan Rush, Paul Brewster and Harjot Grewal.

For more details about the study, download the poster or visit or call 250-472-4303

Knowledge Implementation for Scale-up, Spread and Sustainability of Assistive Technologies (KISSS-AT)

What are assistive technologies?

Assistive technologies are used to support a person to do the things they need to do to maintain or improve their level of independence.

Why is this study being done?

This study aims to improve the use and access to assistive technologies for older adults in British Columbia. The study also aims to develop better ways of assessing the challenges people experience when using assistive technologies. Bringing older adults, their family members, and other caregivers together to talk about assistive technologies will be helpful for health care workers and others. 

Am I eligible to participate?

If you are an older adult using or wanting to use an assistive technology of some kind, you are invited to share your experiences about such things as ease of access and use, as well as any challenges.

For older adults, you must be 55+ years and living independently. Family members include anyone who is currently providing care and support to an older adult family member. Friends, neighbours and other informal caregivers are also invited to participate if you provide regular support to an older adult. Interested participants must be 19 years or older. You should also be able to complete the interview in English.

What is required if I choose to participate?

You will have the option to participate in an initial interview about assistive technologies (up to 1-hour). You may also choose to be part of a group session or participate in other project activities. These will be done either online or over the phone from January – March 2021.

Who is conducting this research?

The co-leads of the research study are Dr. Karen Kobayashi and Robin Syme. They are both at the University of Victoria. Dr. Kobayashi is in the Department of Sociology. She is also a Research Fellow with the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health. Dr. Karen Kobayashi can be reached at . Robin Syme is the Executive Director of CanAssist

For more details about the study, download the poster or contact Dr. Gord Miller, Project Coordinator, at or by calling 250-893-5869


Empty Nest and Retirement Feasibility Study (Behavioral Medicine Lab)

The Behavioural Medicine Lab at UVic is currently recruiting for an Empty Nest and Retirement Feasibility Study. The 12 week study is examining ways to help support people who have recently retired and/or recently had their last child leave home to achieve their increased physical activity goals.

To be eligible, potential study participants must:

  • have retired within the last 6 months and/or had their last child move out of their family home within the last 6 months
  • be currently taking part in less than 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity each week
  • be willing to complete two questionnaires over a 3 month time period.
  • have a smart phone or home computer with reliable internet access at home
  • have an email account with regular access

Interested individuals should contact the Behavioural Medicine Lab at for more information or to register for the study.  

eFIT (Executive Function Improvement Training)

Why is this study being done?

The Cortex Lab would like to learn about the plasticity of executive functioning in older adults; thus, they  are interested in measuring the effects of your participation in physical exercise on your executive functioning, as converging evidence has demonstrated the benefits of exercise to the cognitive and socio-emotional components of executive functioning. 

What is executive functioning? 

Executive Functions are complex cognitive control processes used to guide behaviour by implementing problem-solving strategies and selecting actions or thoughts in relation to internal goals. These control processes initiate, guide, and monitor our actions and the behaviours that are essential to aspects of learning and everyday human tasks, particularly those that are novel, challenging, or that involve problem-solving and troubleshooting. Executive functions are not only cognitive control processes, they are also involved in the socio-emotional domains of human behaviour, which are essential for us to navigate our environment, solve problems and make decisions, and which play an important role in academic and job performance.

Am I eligible to participate?

You are eligible to participate if you:

  •  Are 65 years or older.
  • Currently live in Canada.
  • Are able to speak and read English.
  • Have access to stable internet at home.
  • Have access to a smartphone or tablet where you can download the app: Ethica for assessment.
  • Have access to a computer or a tablet with external keyboard.
  • Pass a health screener questionnaire.

If you are interested in participating, you will undergo a brief online screening process to make sure that you are eligible.

What is required if I choose to participate?

You will be randomly assigned to participate in one of two groups:

  1. Active group
  2. Waitlist Control group
If assigned to the Active group:
  • You will promptly undergo an 8-week program of physical exercise.
  • You will also be asked to complete assessments online and using the Ethica app.
If assigned to the Waitlist Control group:
  • You will be asked to delay your participation in the physical exercise program and maintain your current level of physical activity for 13 weeks.
    By initially refraining from the physical exercise program , you will serve an important role as a control group participant.
  • In order to trust any beneficial effects that the program may have, it is essential that we have a comparison group consisting of older adults who initially do not participate in the program.
  • However, you will ultimately be able to participate in the physical exercise program once you have completed all assessments.

Who is conducting this research?

Dr. Mauricio Garcia-Barrera, Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Victoria, Director of the CORTEX Lab and IALH affiliate, is the Principal Investigator. UVic collaborators include Dr. Scott Hofer, Jonathan Rush, and Dr. Ryan Rhodes. This study is being conducted in collaboration with Tall Tree

If you would like more information, or are interested in participating in the eFIT study, please visit, or you can contact the CORTEX team by emailing or by phone at 250-472-4940. 

View the study poster here

Participate in CanAssist Technology Testing


CanAssist at the University of Victoria is dedicated to helping people with disabilities improve their quality of life, with a focus on promoting independence and inclusion. CanAssist often requires people to test new technology prototypes and provide feedback on their effectiveness. This testing is done on a voluntary basis and there is no cost. In most cases, families testing a technology can continue to use the solution for as long as it continues to be useful.

For technology testing opportunities, please visit the CanAssist website.