Professor Yulia Kovas

Staff details

Research in bio-psycho-social factors in development; aetiology of individual differences; accessible genetics.

Yulia Kovas is Professor of Genetics and Psychology at Goldsmiths; visiting Professor at New York University in London, Global Education Oregon, AIFS, and other international Universities. She directs InLab ( Yulia leads research into mathematical development in the Twins Early Development Study (TEDS;; PLIS - Prospective Longitudinal Interdisciplinary Study of families with children conceived naturally and by IVF; and other studies. Yulia is Chair of Psychology Ethics Committee and Psychology Research Committee. She is co-founder of TAGC – the Accessible Genetics Consortium that aims to raise genetic literacy, promote beneficial use of genetic information and prevent risks brought by genetic advances.

Academic qualifications

  • PhD Behavioural Genetics, King's College London. 2007
  • MSc in Social, Genetic, and Developmental Psychiatry. King's College London. 2004
  • BSc Honours in Psychology, Birkbeck College, University of London 2003
  • 5 year degree (BA and MA) in Russian Philology, World Literature and Pedagogics. Teaching qualification. Herzen State Pedagogical University. 1996

Teaching and supervision

Professor of Genetics and Psychology. Co-director of AIR Interdisciplinary Short Courses.
Supervising projects in cognitive psychology, experimental psychology, cross-cultural psychology, epidemiology and behavioural genetics.

Research interests

The goal of Yulia’s research is to provide insights into the development of individual differences in cognitive abilities, emotional and motivational processes and academic achievement - contributing to more personalised educational approaches and to better education for all learners.

Individual differences
Cognition, emotion and personality
Learning disabilities
Mathematical, language and spatial ability
Behavioural genetics
Cognitive Sciences and Neuroscience
Cross-cultural research (the U.K., EU, U.S., Canada, China, Japan, Russia, Kyrgyzia; Nigeria).
Legal and ethical implications of genetics

Grants and awards

Large scale research projects funded by UK and International Funding Bodies.

Publications and research outputs


Malykh, S.; Kovas, Yulia and Gaysina, D.A.. 2016. Behavioural Genomics: Child Development And Education. Tomsk.: Publishing House of Tomsk State University,. ISBN 978-5-94621-585-5

Book Section

Caviola, Sara; Mammarella, Irene C. and Kovas, Yulia. 2019. Math anxiety in children with and without mathematical difficulties: the role of gender and genetic factors. In: Irene C. Mammarella; Sara Caviola and Ann Dowker, eds. Mathematics Anxiety: What is Known and What is Still to be Understood. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 141-155. ISBN 9780367190330

Petrill, S.A. and Kovas, Yulia. 2015. Individual differences in mathematical ability: A behavioral genetic approach. In: D.B. Berch; D.C. Gary and K. Mann Koepke, eds. Development of mathematical cognition: Neural substrates and genetic influences. San Diego, CA, US.: Elsevier Academic Press. ISBN 9780128019092

Tosto, M.G.; Haworth, C.M. A. and Kovas, Yulia. 2015. Behavioural Genomics of Mathematics. In: Roi Cohen Kadosh; Ann Dowker and UNSPECIFIED, eds. Oxford Handbook of Numerical Cognition. Oxford Handbooks online..


Repeykova, Vlada; Toivainen, Teemu; Lihanov, Maxim; van Broekhoven, Kim and Kovas, Yulia. 2024. Nothing but stereotypes? Negligible sex differences across creativity measures in Science, Arts and Sports adolescent high achievers. Journal of Creative Behavior, 58(1), pp. 47-65. ISSN 2162-6057

Bartseva, Ksenia; Likhanov, Maxim; Tsigeman, Elina; Alenina, Evgenia; Reznichenko, Ivan; Soldatova, Elena and Kovas, Yulia. 2024. No spatial advantage in adolescent hockey players? Exploring measure specificity and masked effects. Intelligence, 102, 101805. ISSN 0160-2896

Bartseva, K. V.; Likhanov, M. V.; Soldatova, E. L.; Tsigeman, E. S.; Alenina, E. A. and Kovas, Yulia. 2023. Applicability of the Online Short Spatial Ability Battery to university students testing. The Education and Science Journal, 25(10), pp. 183-204. ISSN 1994-5639


Kovas, Yulia. 2016. Yulia_Kovas , r/Science , Science AMA Series.

Professional projects

Professor Kovas promotes research ethics and scientific knowledge. She conducts research into societal implications of genetic research. She is Chair of Psychology Department Ethics Committee at Goldsmiths; and is a founding member of TAGC – The Accessible Genetics Consortium. Her science engagement activities include:
Organising public workshops designed to connect the wider public with relevant research related to applications of genetic findings, such as regular Genes&Tonic events.
Contributing to public discussions and panels, including ESRC Science Festival, British Science Foundation debates, cafés scientific, twin festivals.
eminars for school teachers, administrators, and students.
nterviews to media and participation in scientific documentaries.
Promoting knowledge via TAGC (; bringing to Russian speaking audiences the Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development – a free on-line resource (;

Conferences and talks

Regular conference presentations and invited talks.

Grants and Awards

Yulia has received external grant funding from a variety of organisations to support her work including: NIH; MRC; British Academy, Royal Society, Beijing Normal University; Russian Federal Grants; Erasmus+ mobility. In 2011, Yulia was awarded the ‘Mega Grant for Leading International Scientists’ (£3,000,000) to establish the Laboratory for Cognitive Investigations and Behavioural Genetics and Tomsk State University and to lead a program of interdisciplinary cross-cultural research into individual differences in cognition and learning.

Yulia received many awards for her research, teaching and promotion of science, including British Psychological Society Award For Outstanding Doctoral Research Contributions to Psychology; Goldsmiths Peake Award for learning and teaching; British Academy Wiley Prize in Psychology; APS Janet Taylor Spence Award for Transformative Early Career Contributions; D.I. Mendeleev Medal from Tomsk State University for significant contribution to science and education; Russian Academy of Education Award for the significant contribution to fundamental and applied scientific research.