Professor Gilhooly's research has been in the area of human cognitive psychology, especially thinking and problem solving and effects of age on cognition and well-being. His emphasis recently has been on collaborative work at Brunel University London on ageing, dementia and on decision-making among professionals dealing with elder financial abuse.
Professor Gilhooly did his undergraduate degree (MA) in psychology at the University of Edinburgh (1963-67) and then studied at the University of Stirling (1967-70), where he took a Masters in mathematical psychology and a PhD in experimental psychology. Subsequently, he worked at the University of Aberdeen (1970-2000), and then gained a Chair in Psychology at Brunel University London(2000-2003).
After a brief period as Professor of Psychology at the University of the West of Scotland, he took up a Chair at Hertfordshire University (2004-2011). On being made Emeritus at Hertfordshire in 2011, he did consultancy for Joseph Rowntree Foundation and then took up a part time position (2012 –present) as Research Professor in Gerontology in the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Health and Life Sciences, Brunel University London, where he advises and teaches on statistics.
He has held numerous grants since 1977 to the present, mainly from ESRC, Leverhulme Foundation and EU programmes.