School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences


Dr Billy Lee

Photograph of Dr Billy Lee
0131 650 3342
S40 (7GS)
Research Interests
I am interested in personal experience, emotional communication and identity.

I use video and interview based techniques to study interpersonal relations and verbal and nonverbal communication in couples, strangers, counsellors and clients, and groups. My current research examines the underpinnings of the "talking cure" and I am a practicing gestalt counsellor. I offer qualitative research supervision using a phenomenological approach to understanding personal experience, including culture, mental health, and gender differences.

Representative Publications

  • Lee, B & Prior, S (2012). Developing therapeutic listening. British Journal of Guidance & Counselling.
  • Lee, B, Austin, E. A. & Hughes, N. (under review). Emotional intelligence and social perception.
  • Lee, B. (2010). Curing Talk. Review of The Talking Cure: Wittgenstein's method for psychotherapy by JM Heaton. History & Philosophy of Psychology, 12, 96-98.
  • Lee, B. (2007). Nonverbal intimacy as a benchmark for human-robot interaction. Interaction Studies, 8, 411-422.
  • Lee, B. (2006). Empathy, androids, and ‘authentic experience’. Connection Science, 18, 419-428.
  • Kito, T., & Lee, B. (2004). Interpersonal perception in Japanese and British observers. Perception, 33, 957-974.


My research investigates personal experience. I am particularly interested in phenomenological psychology and how people make sense of their situations and identities. I use interview and audio-visual techniques to study verbal and non-verbal communication. I am interested in how our personal histories, bodies, culture, and social situations influence how we experience ourselves and other people, and how we interpret, avoid and express feelings.

My current projects include i) therapeutic listening and communication; ii) life transitions and identity development; iii) and emotional intelligence and social perception. My project on the talking and listening cure investigates the development of listening skills in trainee counsellors. We are examining the discursive, conversational, and nonverbal mechanisms that underpin the therapeutic relationship. I use Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis to conduct experience-near interviews of lived experience. The project on social perception investigates links between emotional intelligence, social perception, and broad spectrum autism.


  • Psychology 1: Lectures in Social Perception
  • Psychology 3: Lectures in Nonverbal Communication
  • Psychology 3: Project Supervision e.g. British-born Chinese identities.
  • Psychology 4: Final year option: Mind, Body, and Consciousness.
  • Psychology 4: Final year dissertation supervision: aspects of marginal experience and identity e.g. fathers' experiences, bipolar experience and identity, musical loss, adoption, growing up with a single parent.
  • Psychology 4: Final year tutorials
  • MSc dissertation supervision in IPA e.g. entrepreneurial failure, second language speech anxiety.


  • Lee, B., Widdicombe, S., Bondi, L. & Prior, S. Development of Listening Skills. Development Trust Research Fund. 2007-2008. £3,400
  • Lee, B. Exploring the psychology of perception and impression formation in Japanese and British cultures. Daiwa Foundation Small Project Grant. 2002-2003. £1,500.
  • Lee, B. Imagery and visual memory. Nuffield Award to Newly Appointed Science Lecturers. 1997-1999. £3,500