Francesco Antilici

Colleges, School and Institutes


I am originally from Rome, Italy. I moved to the UK in 2013 to pursue a PhD degree at the University of Sheffield, which I completed in 2018. In 2016, I spent a semester as a visiting researcher at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and at the University of Maryland. After graduating, I worked at the University of Sheffield as a Teaching Fellow for a term before moving to the University of Birmingham in 2019.  

Research interests

I am interested in the origin, both phylogenetic and ontogenetic, of the social mind. I am attracted to the idea that the very sophisticated social abilities that humans exhibit are supported by several specialised psychological mechanisms that were selected for this purpose during evolution. I would like to find out what these mechanisms are and how they came to be.

In my research so far, I have focussed on the ability to ascribe beliefs to other people. Based on recent findings from developmental psychology and neuroscience, I maintain that this ability emerges very early on in development, even before the first birthday, and may be innate.