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Karen Li, PhD

Full Professor, Psychology

Karen Li, PhD


PhD (University of Toronto)

Research interests

My research focuses on cognitive and attentional processes involved in multiple-task performance in adulthood and healthy aging. I am interested in studying situations in which multiple tasks are either carried out in sequential order, or are performed concurrently. A portion of my current work investigates the coordination of cognitive and motor tasks in old age (e.g., walking, balance, finger sequencing, with a concurrent cognitive load). An important theme in my research is to understand the adaptive strategies that older adults develop in response to declines in cognitive and sensorimotor abilities.

I am a member of the Centre for Research in Human Development (CRDH), which is devoted to multidisciplinary approaches to the study of development across all life periods. I am also a member of the PERFORM Centre for preventive health research and the engAGE Centre on aging. Graduate students working with me participate in regular workshops and seminars offered by these organizations. I am also a member of Team 12 of the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA), which studies interventions (exercise, cognitive training) to improve cognition and mobility in older adults.

Selected publications

Peer-reviewed Articles (* student)

Li,K. Z. H., Bherer, L., Mirelman, A.,Maidan, I., Hausdorff, J. M. (2018). Cognitive involvement in balance, gait and dual-tasking in aging: A focused review from a neuroscience of aging perspective. Frontiers in Neurology – Movement Disorders. 9:913.

  Bruce, H.*,Lai, L.*, Bherer, L., Lussier, M., St.-Onge, N., & Li, K. Z. H. (2018). The effect of simultaneously and sequentially delivered cognitive and aerobic training on mobility among older adults with hearing loss. Gait and Posture, 67, 262-268. Available online ahead of print:

 Campos, J. L., McCumber, D., Chapnik, B., Singh, G., Lau, S.-T.*, Li, K. Z. H., Nieborowska, V.*, &Pichora-Fuller, M. K. (2018). The importance of acoustics in multimodal virtual reality research and application. Canadian Acoustics, 46(3), 29-40.

Nieborowska, V.*, Lau, S-T*,Campos, J., Pichora-Fuller, M. K., Novak, A., & Li, K. Z. H. (2018). Effects of age on dual-task walking while listening in a virtual reality environment. Journal of Motor Behavior.

 Montero-Odasso, M., Almeida, Q.J.,Bherer, L., Burhan, A.M., Camicioli, R., Doyon, J., Fraser, S., Muir-Hunter,S., Li, K., Liu-Ambrose, T.,McIlroy, W., Middleton, L., Morais, J., Sakurai, R., Speechly, M., Vasudev, A.,Beauchet, O., Hausdorff, J.M., Rosano, C., Studenski, S., Verghese, J., and theCanadian Gait and Cognition Network (in press). Consensus on shared measures of mobility and cognition: From the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA). Journal of Gerontology:Medical Sciences, Advanced access June 21, 2018;

 Cullen, S.,Montero-Odasso, M., Bherer, L., Almeida, Q., Fraser, S., Muir-Hunter, S., Li, K., Liu-Ambrose, T., McGibbon, C.,McIlroy, W., Middleton, L., Sarquis-Adams, Y., Beauchet, O., McFadyen, B.,Morais, J., Camicioli, R., and the Canadian Gait and Cognition Network (2018).Guidelines for gait assessments in the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA). Canadian GeriatricsJournal, 21:2, DOI:

 Montero-Odasso, M.,Almeida, Q., Burhan, A.M., Camicioli, R., Doyon, J., Fraser, S., Li, K., Liu-Ambrose, T., Middleton, L,Muir-Hunter, S., McIlroy, W., Morais, J., Pieruccini-Faria, F., Shoemaker, K.,Speechly, M., Vasudev, A., Zou, G.Y., Berryman, N., Lussier, M., Vanderhaeghe,L., &Bherer, L. (2018). SYNERGIC TRIAL (SYNchronizing Exercises, Remediesin Gait and Cognition) a multi-Centre randomized controlled double blind trial to improve gait and cognition in mild cognitive impairment. BMC Geriatrics, 18:93.

 Pothier, K.*, Gagnon, C.*, Fraser, S. A., Lussier, M.,Desjardins-Crépeau, L.*, Berryman, N., Kergoat, M.-J., Vu, T. T. M., Li, K. Z. H., Bosquet, L., Bherer, L. (2017).A comparison of physical exercise, cognitive training and combined intervention on spontaneous walking speed in older adults. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research.

 Lai, L.*, Bruce, H.*, Bherer, L., Lussier, M., & Li, K. Z. H. (2017). Comparing the transfer effects of simultaneous and sequential combined modality training in older adults. Journal of Cognitive Enhancement, 1(4), 478-490.

  Bruce, H.*, Aponte, D.*, St. Onge, N.,Phillips, N. A., Gagné, J.-P., & Li, K. Z. H. (2017). The effects of age and hearing loss on dual-task balance and listening. Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences. E-pub ahead of print (7 May, 2017).

  Fraser,S. A., Li, K. Z. H., Berryman, N., Desjardins-Crépeau, L.*, Lussier,M.*, Vadaga, K.*, Lehr, L.*, Minh Vu, T. T., Bosquet, L., Bherer, L. (2017). Does combined physical and cognitive training improve dual-task balance and gait outcomes in sedentary older adults? Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 

 Desjardins-Crépeau*, L., Berryman, N.*,Fraser, S. A., Vu, T. T. M., Kergoat, M-J, Li, K. Z. H., Bosquet, L.,& Bherer, L. (2016). Effects of combined physical and cognitive training on fitness and neuropsychological outcomes in healthy older adults. Clinical Interventions in Aging, 11, 1287—1299.

 Lau, S. T.*, Pichora-Fuller, M. K., Li, K.Z. H., Singh, G., & Campos, J. (2016). Effects of hearing loss ondual-task performance in an audiovisual virtual reality simulation of listening while walking. Journal of the American Academy of Audiology, 27, 567-587.  DOI:10.3766/jaaa.15115.

 Vadaga, K. K.*, Blair, M.*,& Li, K. Z. H. (2016). Are age-related differences uniform across different inhibitory functions? Journal of Gerontology:Psychological Sciences 71, 641-649.

 Baer, L. H.*, Park, M. T., Bailey, J. A.*, Chakravarty, M. M., Li, K. Z. H., & Penhune, V. B. (2015).Regional cerebellar volumes are related to early musical training and finger tapping performance. NeuroImage, 109,1 April 2015, 130-139. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.12.076.

 Korotkevich,Y.*, Trewartha, K. M.*, Penhune, V. B., & Li, K. Z. H. (2015). Effects of age and cognitive load on response reprogramming. Experimental Brain Research, 233(3), 937-946. DOI10.1007/s00221-014-4169-5.

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