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Department contact for issues relating directly to MSc study
Tel: +44 (0)20 7955 7995

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Dr Alex Gillespie


For publications click here

Associate Professor in Social Psychology

Co-Editor of Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour

Awarded LSE Teaching Prize, 2014; 'highly commended' in Students Union Teaching Awards, 2016.

Social psychology, for me, begins with recognizing that people and groups have different perspectives. Key questions include: How do we bridge these divergences of perspective and achieve our collective life? What can we learn from listening to each other? And, more pragmatically, what technologies can we develop to study and intervene in these interactions?

Theory: Intersubjectivity, misunderstandings, perspective-taking, culture.

Aim: Develop tools to facilitate dialogue

Research: Experiments, qualitative, and fieldwork in healthcare

Talks: BBC Future World Changing Ideas Summit, Sydney (15/11/16); Psychology Department, University of Hull (15/3/17); NCCR public lecture, University Neuchatel (27/4/17); Guest speaker, University of Copenhagen (18/5/17)

Co-Director, with Dr Tom Reader, of the Inter-Personal and Organisational Communication (ipoc) research group.

LSE Experts Page 

I was born in Norway, grew up in Ireland, did a B.A. in Psychology at Trinity College (Dublin), an MSc at the LSE and a PhD at the University of Cambridge. After finishing my PhD I lectured at the University of Cambridge for two years before moving to the University of Stirling. I joined the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science in 2011.

I review for a wide range of publishers and journals. I am on the editorial boards of Culture & Psychology,Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science, Papers on Social Representations,The Journal of Social, Evolutionary, & Cultural Psychology, Journal of Integrated Social Sciences and the British Journal of Social Psychology.

I am a member of the ESRC college of reviewers, a European Science Foundation reviewer, a member of the Irish Research Council's Outer International Assessment Board, an external assessor for the Romanian Research Assessment Exercise, and a member of the Board of Directors for LSE Enterprise. I am also a founder of the on-line and open-access Frederic Bartlett Archive,


My research assumes that the social world is pluralistic, that each organism, person and community has a distinctive perspective or worldview which stemming from their interests and practices. I have studied the divergences of perspective in many contexts, but it seems clear to me that we lack good methods

Divergences of perspective are not always accidental. Sometimes people try to create misleading impressions. Sometimes people don't want to understand the other, preferring to dismiss their point of view. We also tend to dismiss people if we think that they are too young or are not human. I am interested in how trust, representations, bureaucracy and social processes shape both what is said and heard.

My epistemological stance is pragmatist, and accordingly, I evaluate knowledge in terms of its practical consequences. To this end I have worked with colleagues to produce a tool to facilitate communication with people with communication disorders (winner of an Advancing Healthcare Award 2010) and a novel technology called Guide (winner of Laing Buisson Healthcare Award for Innovation) that provides the interactive verbal support. Recently I have been working with Dr Tom Reader to develop the Healthcare Complaints Analysis Tool.


I teach on Contemporary Social and Cultural Psychology (PS400) and Social Psychology of Public Communication (PS429). I also supervise MSc dissertations and PhD theses.

Current PhD supervision

Kevin Corti

'Using cyranoids to investigate meta-perspectives and their role in social bargaining behaviour'

Donna Baille

Moral decision making among Israeli soldiers'

Brett Heasman

'Perspective taking between people with autism and their caregivers'

Future PhD supervision

If you are interested in working with me on a PhD, you can contact me in advance of making a formal application. I'm happy to discuss either a specific proposal or relative merits of two or three potential proposals. In either case, send me something short and focused and include your CV

For a more complete and up to date list of publications, please click here.

Selection of recent articles


Gillespie, A. & Corti, K. (2016). The body that speaks: recombining bodies and speech sources in unscripted face-to-face communication. Frontiers in Psychology,

Gillespie, A. & Reader, T. (2016). The Healthcare Complaints Analysis Tool: development and reliability testing of a method for service monitoring and organisational learning. BMJ Quality & Safety,   doi:10.1136/bmjqs-2015-004596

Corti, K. & Gillespie, A. (2016). Co-constructing intersubjectivity with artificial conversational agents: People are more likely to initiate repairs of misunderstandings with agents represented as human. Computers in Human Behavior, 58, 431-442.

Corti, K., & Gillespie, A. (2015). A truly human interface: interacting face-to-face with someone whose words are determined by a computer program. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 634. [Featured in Discovery, Huffington Post, BBC]

Gillespie, A. & Moore, H. (2015). Translating and transforming Care: People with brain injury and caregivers filling in a disability claim form. Qualitative Health Research, doi: 10.1177/1049732315575316

Aveling, E. L., Gillespie, A., & Cornish, F. (2015). A qualitative method for analysing multivoicedness. Qualitative Research, 15, 670-687.

Corti, K., & Gillespie, A. (2015). Revisiting Milgram’s cyranoid method: experimenting with hybrid human agents. The Journal of social psychology, 155(1), 30-56. [Featured in WIRED]

Reader, T. W., Gillespie, A., & Roberts, J. (2014). Patient complaints in healthcare systems: a systematic review and coding taxonomy. BMJ Quality & Safety, 23, 678-689.[Editors’ Top Ten]

Moore, H., & Gillespie, A. (2014). The caregiving bind: Concealing the demands of informal care can undermine the caregiving identity. Social Science & Medicine, 116, 102–109.

Gillespie, A., Reader, T., Cornish, F., & Campbell, C. (2014). Beyond ideal speech situations: Adapting to communication asymmetries in health care. Journal of health psychology, 19(1), 72-78.

Gillespie, A. & Zittoun, T. (2013). Meaning making in motion: Bodies and minds moving through institutional and semiotic structures. Culture & Psychology, 19, 518-532.

Reader, T. W., & Gillespie, A. (2013). Patient neglect in healthcare institutions: A systematic review and conceptual model. BMC health services research, 13(1), 156.

Gillespie, A. (2012). Position exchange: The social development of agency. New Ideas in Psychology, 30, 32-46.

Gillespie, A., Best, C. & O’Neill, B. (2012). Cognitive function and assistive technology for cognition: A systematic review. Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, 18, 1-19.

Gillespie, A., & Richardson, B. (2011). Exchanging social positions: Enhancing perspective taking within a cooperative problem solving task. European journal of social psychology, 41(5), 608-616. [Editor’s Choice in APS Observer]



Alex Giliespie 
Dr Alex Gillespie

Social psychology, for me, begins with divergences of perspective.