Department of Psychology

Dr Sophie von Stumm

Position held:
Lecturer in Psychology

+44 (0)20 7919 7594

s.vonstumm (

Summary of research

  • Causes and consequences of individual differences in cognitive ability.
  • The role of personality traits for lifespan cognitive development and ageing.
  • Psychometrics of individual differences constructs (e.g. self-estimates of ability; learning approaches; creativity; attitudes).

Check the Hungry Mind Lab for details.

Academic qualifications



PS52002C: Personality and Individual Differences

PS52007C: Research Methods in Psychology

Areas of supervision

Available to supervise undergraduate, MSc and PhD students in any of the areas listed in my 'research' tab, or in closely-related areas.

Grants & awards

Recent grants and awards:

2014: British Academy/ Leverhuleme Small Grant: Day-to-day within-person variability in cognitive performance and affect. £7938.

2014: Winner of the Excellence in Research Award by the Mensa Education & Research Foundation for a publication. $500.

2013. Winner of the ISSID (International Society for the Study of Individual Differences) Early Career Award.

2013. Eysenck Memorial Award: Intelligence-Personality Associations: A psychometric-experimental approach. £2000.




Research interests

My research interests focus on the causes and consequences of individual differences in lifespan cognitive development. Specifically, I explore how personality traits – in particular so-called investment traits – affect childhood cognitive growth, adult intelligence (e.g. academic performance and knowledge attainment), and cognitive ageing. Investment traits refer to the tendency to seek out, engage in, enjoy, and continuously pursue opportunities for effortful cognitive activity. My work so far has shown that investment traits enhance cognitive performance and ability but the mechanisms that underlie this association are not fully understood.

In addition, I investigate the real-world impact of early life factors on educational achievement, health status and social outcomes in adulthood, using prospective cohort studies. In particular, I focus on children’s behaviours and home environments, including school experiences; behaviour problems; parental aspirations; and nutrition. The question that drives this research is what are the early life experiences that shape our development throughout adulthood - and to what extent?

After studying Psychology at Royal Holloway University of London and the University of Edinburgh, I completed my PhD at Goldsmiths University of London with Professor Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic in 2010. Thereafter, I lectured at the University of Chichester and the University of Edinburgh, before returning to Goldsmiths as a Lecturer in 2012. 

Please visit Hungry Mind Lab for more details on my ongoing research projects and collaborations.

Selected publications


28. Larsson, E. & von Stumm, S. (2014). Seeing red? The effect of colour on intelligence test performance. Intelligence, in press.

27. von Stumm, S. & Plomin, R. (2014). Socioeconomic status and the growth of intelligence from
infancy through adolescence. Intelligence, in press.

26. Furnham, A., von Stumm, S.,  Fenton O’Creevey, M. (2014). Sex Differences in Money Pathology in the General Population. Social Indicators Research, in press.

25. von Stumm, S., Hell. B., & Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2014). Facts and findings: A reply to Powell & Nettelbeck (2014). Personality and Individual Differences, doi:10.1016/j.paid.2014.06.015.

24. Furnham, A., von Stumm, S., & Milner (2014). Moneygrams: Recalled childhood memories about money and adult money pathology. Journal of Financial Therapy, doi:10.4148/1944-9771.1059.

23. von Stumm, S. (2014). Intelligence, gender, and assessment method affect the accuracy of self-estimated intelligence. British Journal of Psychology, 105, 243-253.


22. von Stumm, S. (2013). Big data on adult intelligence: 57 years of the Seattle Longitudinal Study. PsycCRITIQUES, 58 (33).

21. von Stumm, S. & Deary, I. J. (2013). Intellect and Cognitive Performance in the Lothian Birth Cohort 1936. Psychology & Aging, 28, 680-684.

20.von Stumm, S., Deary, I. J., & Hagger-Johnson, G. (2013). Life-course pathways to psychological distress: a cohort study. BMJ Open; doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-002772.

19. von Stumm, S. (2013). Investment Traits and Intelligence in Adulthood: Mechanisms and Assessment. Journal of Individual Differences; doi:10.1027/1614-0001/a000101.

18. von Stumm, S., & Ackerman, P. L. (2013). Investment and Intellect: A Review and Meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 841-869.


17. von Stumm, S., Furnham, A., & Fenton O’Creevey, M. (2012). Financial Capability, Money Attitudes and Socioeconomic Status: Risks for Experiencing Adverse Financial Outcomes. Personality and Individual Differences, 54, 344–349.

16. von Stumm, S. (2012). You are What You Eat? Meal Type, Socio-economic Status and Cognitive Ability in Childhood. Intelligence, 40, 576–583.

15. von Stumm, S., & Furnham, A. F. (2012). Approaches to Learning: Associations with Typical Intellectual Engagement, Intelligence and the Big Five. Personality and Individual Differences, 53, 720–723.

14. von Stumm, S. (2012). Investment Trait, Activity Engagement, and Age: Independent Effects on Cognitive Ability. Special Issue, Journal of Aging Research, doi:10.1155/2012/949837.

13. Bratko, D., Butkovic, A., Vukasovic, T., Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & von Stumm, S. (2012). Cognitive Ability, Self-assessed Intelligence and Personality: Common Genetic but Independent Environmental Aetiologies. Intelligence, 40, 91-99.

12. von Stumm, S., & Deary, I. J. (2012). Typical Intellectual Engagement and cognition in the ninth decade of life: the Lothian Birth Cohort 1921. Psychology and Aging, 27, 761-767.


11. von Stumm, S., Hell, B., & Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2011). The hungry mind: Intellectual curiosity as third pillar of academic performance. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 574-588.

10. von Stumm, S., Batty, G. D., & Deary, I. J. (2011). Marital status and reproduction: associations with childhood intelligence and adult social class in the Aberdeen children of the 1950s study. Intelligence, 39, 161-167.

9. Hagger-Johnson, G., Deary, I. J., Batty, G. D., & von Stumm, S. (2011). Childhood socio-economic status and adult health: Comparing formative and reflective models in the Aberdeen Children of the 1950s Study (prospective cohort study). Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, doi:10.1136/jech.2010.127696.


8. von Stumm, S., Deary, I. J.,  Kivimaeki, M., Jokela, M., Clark, H., & Batty, G. D. (2010). Childhood behavior problems and health at midlife: 35 year follow-up of a Scottish birth cohort. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 52, doi: 10.1111/j.1469.

7. von Stumm, S., Chung, A., & Furnham, A. (2010). Creative ability, creative ideation and latent classes of creative achievement: What is the role of personality? Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity and Arts, 3, 149-155.

6. Stieger, S., Kastner, C., Voracek, M., von Stumm, S., Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Furnham, A. (2010). Independent effects of personality and sex on self-estimated intelligence: evidence from Austria. Psychological Reports Perceptual and Motor Skills, 107, 553-563.

5. von Stumm, S., Macintyre, S., Batty, D. G., Clark, H., & Deary, I. J. (2010). Intelligence, social class of origin, childhood behavior disturbance and education as predictors of status attainment in midlife: The Aberdeen Children of the 1950s study. Intelligence, 38, 202-211.


4. von Stumm, S., Gale, C. R., Batty, D., & Deary, I. J. (2009). Childhood intelligence, behaviour and locus of control as determinants of intergenerational social mobility: the British Cohort Study 1970. Intelligence, 37, 329-340.

3. Furnham, A., von Stumm, S., Makendrayogam, A., & Chamorro-Premuzic, T. (2009). A taxonomy of self-estimated human performance: The General Factor í. Journal of Individual Differences, 30, 188-193.

2. von Stumm, S., Chamorro-Premuzic, T.,  Quiroga, M. A., & Colom, R. (2009). Separating narrow and general variance in intelligence-personality associations. Personality and Individual Differences, 47, 336-341.

1. von Stumm, S., Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Furnham, A. (2009). Decomposing self-estimates of intelligence: Structure and sex differences across 12 nations. British Journal of Psychology, 100, 429-442.

Content last modified: 02 Dec 2014

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