Watch "Ape Genius", a Nova/National Geographic documentary featuring Spiteri's work with apes.

Antoine designs and builds "artificial fruits" that he then uses in mirror and diffusion experiments. Artificial fruits are complex tool-use problems designed to mimic, in principle, the peeling of various layers of the fruit shell in order to get to the reward inside. Spiteri also uses neuroimaging techniques

In 2014 Antoine joined Adam Anderson at Cornell, supporting research in social neuroscience across the lifespan.

When learning a tasks, how do children encode new information into memory? Do they copy every action they see or, rather, are they selective emulators? This work compares data collected from chimpanzee diffusion experiments to methodologically analogous findings with human 4 year old children.



Do apes have a capacity for culture? Can members in one group learn from their neighbors by way of observation? Funded by the NIH, Leverhulme and the BBSRC, this research has been concerned with what apes can tell us about human and animal learning and the social minds of the ancestors we share with other primates.


With a detailed cognitive map, we could also build better artificial brains. But overall, with each step, we get a little closer to understanding what exactly distinguishes humans from other animals.

Social Learning in Kids

Social Neuroscience

Social Learning in Apes


Research


With an experimental background in psychology & research methods, Spiteri explores how human & animal brains navigate their social world.


His research in human & animal learning helps map how the human brain has progressed to accommodate the cognitive mechanisms that make possible advanced learning, teaching & other social faculties that make us human

In 2009, Antoine joined the board of directors of TH Group, a family of businesses that trade in property development, construction & real estate services in Malta.

Implications

Results from ape studies help explain mechanisms of imitation and are useful to AI design 

Qualifications


Besides his education in science research, Antoine studied theatrical arts at the Stella Adler Academy and Paramount Studios, in Hollywood, as well as garment design and manufacturing at Woodbury University.

  • Social & Behavioral Neuroscience 
  • Social Learning in Apes & Children
  • Cultural Transmission
  • Status & Directed Social Learning
  • Higherarchical Learning