Toben H. Mintz

Associate Professor, Psychology & Linguistics

Toben H. Mintz

Research Topics

  • Language acquisition
  • Language representation
  • Computational modeling of langauge acquisition

Research Images

Research Overview

My general research interests are in the cognitive mechanisms that underlie language acquisition. One line of research investigates the methods by which infants and very young children acquire fundamental syntactic knowledge about the language they are learning. Another line of work investigates how two- and three-year olds learn the meanings of novel words. These research programs are connected by a common question about the nature of the mechanisms that give rise to linguistic abilities, and the effects of environmental input on these mechanisms. A common goal is to investigate how best to understand the similarities and differences between language learning and learning in other domains, and what the primary influences on language acquisition are.

Contact Information

Mailing Address University of Southern California
Dept of Psychology
SGM 501, MC-1061
Los Angeles, CA 90089-1061
Office Location SGM 613
Office Phone (213) 740-2253
Lab Location SGM 617
Lab Phone (213) 740-2936
Fax (213) 746-9082
Office Location SGM 613



  • Ph.D., University of Rochester, 1996.

Selected Publications

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  • Wang F.H., Zevin J., and Mintz T.H. (2019). Successfully learning non-adjacent dependencies in a continuous artificial language stream. Cogn Psychol., 113:101223. doi:10.1016/j.cogpsych.2019.101223
  • Wang F.H., and Mintz T.H. (2018). Learning nonadjacent dependencies embedded in sentences of an artificial language: When learning breaks down. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. 44(4):604-614. doi:10.1037/xlm0000483 PubMed
  • Wang, F.H., and Mintz, T.H. (2016) Language acquisition is model-based rather than model-free. Behav Brain Sci. 39:e89. PubMed
  • Geffen, S., and Mintz, T.H. (2016) Prosodic differences between declaratives and interrogatives in infant-directed speech. J Child Lang. Jul 18:1-27. PubMed
  • Mintz, T.H., Wang, F.H., and Li, J. (2014) Word categorization from distributional information: frames confer more than the sum of their (Bigram) parts. Cogn Psychol. 75: 1-27. PubMed
  • Amir, O., Biederman, I., Herald, S.B., Shah, M.P., and Mintz, T.H. (2014) Greater sensitivity to nonaccidental than metric shape properties in preschool children. Vision Res. 97: 83-8. PubMed
  • Mintz, T.H. (2013) The segmentation of sub-lexical morphemes in english-learning 15-month-olds. Front Psychol. 4:24. PubMed
  • Chemla, E., Mintz, T.H., Bernal, S., and Christophe, A. (2009) Categorizing words using 'frequent frames': what cross-linguistic analyses reveal about distributional acquisition strategies. Dev Sci. 12(3): 396-406. PubMed
  • Curtin, S., Mintz, T. H., Christiansen, M. (2005) Stress changes the representational landscape: evidence from word segmentation in infants. Cognition, 96, 233-262. PubMed
  • Mintz, T. H. (2005) Linguistic and conceptual influences on adjective acquisition in 24- and 36-month-olds. Developmental Psychology, 41, 17-29. PubMed
  • Mintz, T. H. (2003) Frequent frames as a cue for grammatical categories in child directed speech. Cognition, 90, 91-117. PubMed Link
  • Mintz, T. H. (2002) Category induction from distributional cues in an artificial language. Memory & Cognition, 30, 678-686. PubMed Link
  • Mintz, T.H., & Gleitman, L. R. (2002) Adjectives really do modify nouns: The incremental and restricted nature of early adjective acquisition. Cognition, 84, 267-293. PubMed Link