Dr Magdalena Ietswaart

Senior Lecturer

Psychology University of Stirling, Stirling, FK9 4LA

Dr Magdalena Ietswaart

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About me

About me

I did my first degree in The Netherlands and I gained my PhD in the Neuropsychology of Action at Aberdeen University (Scotland) in 2001. I have worked as a researcher at the Universities of St Andrews, Aberdeen, and Durham. I held an academic post at Northumbria University at Newcastle from 2006 and joined Stirling in the summer of 2013.


My research is in the area of neuropsychology and cognitive neuroscience. The research investigates how action is represented in the brain and how this knowledge can be applied clinically. Neurological patient research is at the heart of the work in my lab, but we use a further range of techniques including brain stimulation, motion tracking kinematic analysis, eye-tracking, simple dexterity / cognitive testing, reaction time experiments, and brain imaging with normal aged and brain injured participants.

As part of the mobile cognition initiative I work multidisciplinary using advanced multi-methods to investigate brain processes and brain changes in the real world.

I have held/hold grants as Principal Investigator (PI) from a.o. the UK’s National Institute for Health Research, Medical Research Scotland, and Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Executive Health Department.


Football and Dementia: Understanding the brain health consequences of heading the ball


Project: Medical Research Scotland

PI: M Ietswaart; co-I: L Wilson, Colin Moran, A Hodges (Magstim), D Porter (Glasgow), F Binkofski (Aachen, Germany), S Mondelo (Messina, Italy)


Mobile Cognition Innovation


Project: SINAPSE/Scottish Funding Council endowment

PI: M Ietswaart


Football heading: Consequences for brain health and potential protection through shock-absorbing technology


Project: match-funded PhD studentship (Lember)

PI: M Ietswaart; co-I: A Hunter, T di Virgilio


Diagnosing and understanding brain health consequences of routine football heading


Project: match-funded PhD studentship (Ntikas)

PI: M Ietswaart; co-I: L Wilson, D Kourtis, DI Donaldson (St Andrews)


Neural correlates of action representations in real-world environments


Project: university funded PhD studentship (Mustile)

PI: M Ietswaart; co-I: D Kourtis, Martin Edwards (Louvain, Belgium), DI Donaldson (St Andrews)


Action observation, action understanding and Autism


Project: Wellcome Trust (Ward)

PI: M Ietswaart


Neural markers of real-world successful sporting performance in elite athletes


Project: SINAPSE & Sportscotland PhD studentship (Alexandrou)

PI: DI Donaldson; co-I: M Ietswaart, D Kourtis


Avian cognition and tool-use in the wild

2015- [leave of absence]

Project: self-funded PhD studentship (Bruce)

PI: M Ietswaart; co-I: C Caldwell


On the head: the true impact of routine head strikes in sport


Project: university funded PhD studentship (Di Virgilio)

PI: M Ietswaart; co-I: A Hunter, L Wilson, W Stewart (Glasgow), DI Donaldson (St Andrews)


Development of a novel technology-based biomarker for identification of mild traumatic brain injury


Project: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) project grant

PI: M Ietswaart; co-I: A Hunter, L Wilson, Howatson (Northumbria), DI Donaldson (St Andrews)


Neural correlates of human cognition in real-world environments


Project: university funded PhD studentship (Ladouce)

PI: M Ietswaart; co-I: DI Donaldson (St Andrews), P Dudchenko,


Action representations in stroke: the neural correlates of tool-use and object perception


Project: university funded PhD studentship (Evans)

PI: M Ietswaart; co-I: Martin Edwards (Louvain, Belgium)


Brain action representations


Project: Capacity Building grant held at Newcastle Magnetic Resonance Centre Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

PI: M Ietswaart


Hand meets tool: the neural correlates of hand-tool interaction


Project: university funded PhD studentship (Bracci)

PI: M Ietswaart; co-I: Christiana Cavina Pratesi (Durham), Marius Peeling (Trento, Italy, at that time), Alfonso Caramazza (Harvard, USA)


Evaluation of functional redistribution following motor imagery training in stroke


Project: NHS Endowment research grant (Scott)

PI: M Ietswaart; co-I: G Waiter, M MonWilliams, M Johnston, S Hamilton


Can motor imagery enhance recovery of hand function after stroke? Evaluation of motor imagery training


Project: Chief Scientist Office, Scottish Government Health Department, project grant CZH/4/153

PI: M Ietswaart; co-I: Chris Dijkerman (Utrecht, NL), Marie Johnston (Aberdeen)

Outputs (40)



Mustile M, Kourtis D, Ladouce S, Learmonth G, Donaldson DI, Edwards MG & Ietswaart M (2021) Mobile EEG reveals functionally dissociable dynamic processes supporting real-world ambulatory obstacle avoidance: Evidence for early proactive control. European Journal of Neuroscience, 54 (12), pp. 8106-8119. https://doi.org/10.1111/ejn.15120


Di Virgilio TG, Ietswaart M, Wilson L, Donaldson DI & Hunter AM (2019) Understanding the Consequences of Repetitive Subconcussive Head Impacts in Sport: Brain Changes and Dampened Motor Control Are Seen After Boxing Practice. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 13, Art. No.: 294. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2019.00294

Edited Book

Ietswaart M, Butler A, Jackson PL & Edwards MG (eds.) (2016) Mental Practice: Clinical and Experimental Research is Imagery and Action Observation [Mental Practice, State of Play]. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Lausanne, Switzerland: Frontiers Media. http://journal.frontiersin.org/researchtopic/1229/mental-practice-clinical-and-experimental-research-in-imagery-and-action-observation


Ietswaart M (Editor), Butler A (Editor), Jackson PL (Editor) & Edwards MG (Editor) (2013) Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Research Topic: Mental Practice: clinical and experimental research is imagery and action observation. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, 7. http://www.frontiersin.org/human_neuroscience/researchtopics/mental_practice_clinical_and_e/1229

Book Chapter

Dijkerman HC, Ietswaart M & Johnston M (2010) Motor imagery and the rehabilitation of movement disorders: an overview. In: Guillot A & Collet C (eds.) The Neurophysiological foundations of mental and motor imagery. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 127-144. http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780199546251.do

Book Chapter

Ietswaart M & Milner AD (2009) Apraxia. In: Bayne T, Cleeremans A & Wilken P (eds.) The Oxford Companion to Consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 57-58. http://ukcatalogue.oup.com/product/9780198569510.do


Milders M, Ietswaart M, Crawford JR & Currie D (2008) Social behavior following traumatic brain injury and its association with emotion recognition, understanding of intentions, and cognitive flexibility. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 14 (2), pp. 318-326. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1355617708080351