Project Description

Dr. Karson KUNG

Assistant Professor

Dr. Kathy Kar-man SHUM

Office: 6.05

Phone: (852) 3917-7131



  • PhD, University of Cambridge
  • BSc, University College London (UCL)


Karson read psychology as an undergraduate student at UCL and graduated with a First Class Honours degree, achieving a First in all years of study. Upon completing his undergraduate study, he became a postgraduate student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Cambridge. He graduated as the most impactful PhD candidate in his cohort (1st out of 19), ranked by impact factor points accumulated from first-authored empirical research publications. During the final stage of his PhD, he became the only Research Associate funded by St. John’s College and an Affiliated Lecturer in Psychology at Cambridge. Shortly after receiving his PhD, in fall 2020, he became an Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong.

In 2020, Karson was one of the only two people outside America to receive an Early Career Achievement Award from the American Psychological Association (APA). In 2021, he was awarded the largest grant in the Early Career Scheme of the Hong Kong Research Grants Council across all subjects, panels, and institutions (1st out of 418 applications).

Karson is on the editorial board of the Archives of Sexual Behavior.


  • Gender similarities and differences in education, health, and work
  • Neurobehavioural effects of sex hormones
  • Causes, correlates, and consequences of childhood gender-related play behaviour
  • Male preponderance in neurodevelopmental conditions such as autism
  • Well-being of sexual and gender minorities including non-heterosexual individuals, transgender and non-binary individuals, and individuals with an “intersex” condition

RESEARCH LABORATORYPsychology and Human Development (PHD) Lab

Core Members (current students/staff with Karson as primary research supervisor)

Doctoral Students

  • Marshall M. C. Hui
    • BSSc, Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK)); MSocSc, University of Hong Kong (HKU)
    • Awarded the Leung Lai Siu Chun Memorial Scholar title at CUHK
    • Awarded the Leung Che Kwong Lai Shim Memorial Scholar title at HKU
  • Dino C. K. Wong
    • BSocSc & MSocSc, University of Hong Kong; MPhil, University of Cambridge
    • Awarded the Bell Scholar title at Cambridge
  • Sixuan Zhang
    • BS, Peking University; MA, Columbia University
    • Awarded the CURE Scholar title at Peking

MPhil Students

  • Rachel L. C. Li
    • BA (First Class Honours), University of Hong Kong
  • Xiaohan Lin
    • BA (First Class Honours equivalent), University of British Columbia

Research Assistant

  • Shirley S. M. Ho

Our research group is always looking for new talents (post-doctoral researchers, doctoral candidates, and research interns). Interested applicants should contact Karson directly.

RECENT PUBLICATIONS (*corresponding author)

Kung, K. T. F.* (2022). Gender differences in children’s play. In P. K. Smith and C. H. Hart (Eds.), The 3rd Edition of the Wiley-Blackwell Handbook of Childhood Social Development (3rd ed.). Chichester, UK: Wiley-Blackwell.

Kung, K. T. F.* (2022). Recalled childhood gender-related play behaviour and current gender-related occupational interests in university students: Examining the mediating roles of gender compatibility, goal endorsement, and occupational stereotype flexibility. Frontiers in Psychology, 13:927998.

Kung, K. T. F.* (2021). Preschool gender-typed play behavior predicts adolescent gender-typed occupational interests: A 10-year longitudinal study. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 50, 843-851. 

Kung, K. T. F.*, Thankamony, A., Ong, K. K. L., Acerini, C. L., Dunger, D. B., Hughes, I. A., and Hines, M. (2021). No relationship between prenatal or early postnatal androgen exposure and autistic traits: Evidence using anogenital distance and penile length measurements at birth and 3 months of age. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 62, 876-883. 

Kung, K. T. F.* (2020). Autistic traits, systemising, empathising, and theory of mind in transgender and non-binary adults. Molecular Autism, 11:73.

Kung, K. T. F.*, Li, G., Golding, J., and Hines, M. (2018). Preschool gender-typed play behavior at age 3.5 years predicts physical aggression at age 13 years. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 47, 905-914. 

Kung, K. T. F.*, Spencer, D., Pasterski, V., Neufeld, S., Hindmarsh, P. C., Hughes, I. A., Acerini, C. L., and Hines, M. (2018). Emotional and behavioral adjustment in 4 to 11-year-old boys and girls with classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia and unaffected siblings. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 97, 104-110. 

Kung, K. T. F.*, Browne, W. V., Constantinescu, M., Noorderhaven, R. M., and Hines, M. (2016). Early postnatal testosterone predicts sex-related differences in early expressive vocabulary. Psychoneuroendocrinology, 68, 111-116. 

Kung, K. T. F.*, Constantinescu, M., Browne W. V., Noorderhaven, R. M., and Hines, M. (2016). No relationship between early postnatal testosterone and autistic traits in 18 to 30-month-old children. Molecular Autism, 7:15. 

Kung, K. T. F.*, Spencer, D., Pasterski, V., Neufeld, S., Glover, V., O’Connor, T. G., Hindmarsh, P. C., Hughes, I. A., Acerini, C. L., and Hines, M. (2016). No relationship between prenatal androgen exposure and autistic traits: Convergent evidence from studies of children with congenital adrenal hyperplasia and of amniotic testosterone concentrations in typically-developing children. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 57, 1455-1462.

HKU Psychology