Dr Idalmis Santiesteban

Idalmis Santiesteban

University position

ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellow


Department of Psychology



Research Theme

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience


My research interest is social cognition, particularly self-other processes. My PhD work investigated the control of self-other representations in visual perspective taking, the inhibition of imitation and theory of mind, under the supervision of Dr Geoffrey Bird at Birkbeck, University of London.

I am currently a Research Fellow at the Psychology Department, University of Cambridge, funded by an ESRC Future Research Leaders Award. My current work attempts to gain a better insight into the neurocognitive mechanisms of self-other processing in empathy and theory of mind. This work focuses on two approaches: 1) investigating when self-other processing goes awry in atypical groups such as autism spectrum disorders and mirror-touch synaesthesia, and 2) determining the impact of brain stimulation on connectivity patterns of brain networks supporting social cognition.

I am also interested in the extent to which social abilities rely on domain-general vs. uniquely social processing.

tDCS in a social cognition experiment
tDCS in a social cognition experiment
Click image to view full-size

Research Focus



theory of mind




Clinical conditions


Mirror-touch synaesthesia


Behavioural analysis


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Neuropsychological testing





Nicola Clayton

Kate Plaisted-Grant

Jon Simons

United Kingdom

Michael Banissy Web: http://www.gold.ac.uk/psychol...

Geoff Bird Web: https://sites.google.com/site/ge...

Caroline Catmur Web: https://kclpure.kcl.ac.uk/portal/...

Cecilia Heyes Web: http://users.ox.ac.uk/~ascch/

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Santiesteban I, Banissy MJ, Catmur C, Bird G (2015), “Functional Lateralization of Temporoparietal Junction: Imitation Inhibition, Visual Perspective Taking and Theory of Mind” European Journal of Neuroscience 42(8)

    Santiesteban I, Bird G, Tew O, Cioffi MC, Banissy MJ (2015), “Mirror-touch synaesthesia: Difficulties inhibiting the other” Cortex 71

    Santiesteban I, Shah P, White S, Bird G, Heyes C (2015), “Mentalizing or submentalizing in a communication task? Evidence from autism and a camera control” Psychon Bull Rev 22(3)

    Hogeveen J, Obhi SS, Banissy MJ, Santiesteban I, Press C, Catmur C, Bird G (2014), “Task-dependent and distinct roles of the temporoparietal junction and inferior frontal cortex in the control of imitation” Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience nsu148

    Santiesteban I, Catmur C, Coughlan Hopkins S, Bird G, Heyes C (2014), “Avatars and Arrows: Implicit Mentalizing or Domain-General Processing?” ournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance 40(3)

    Santiesteban I, Banissy MJ, Catmur C, Bird G (2012), “Enhancing social ability by stimulating right temporoparietal junction.” Current Biology 22(23)

    Santiesteban I, White S, Cook J, Gilbert SJ, Heyes C, Bird G (2012), “Training social cognition: From imitation to Theory of Mind” Cognition 122(2)


    in press

    Catmur C, Santiesteban I, Conway JR, Heyes C, Bird G (in press), “Avatars and Arrows in the Brain” NeuroImage