University of Southern California

USC Neuroscience

Toben H. Mintz

Associate Professor, Psychology & Linguistics

Research Topics

  1. Language acquisition
  2. Language representation
  3. Computational modeling of langauge acquisition

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

Web Sites:
Personal Home Page
Lab Home Page
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
(213) 746-9082


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

Research Images

Selected Publications

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Mintz, T. H. (2006) Finding the verbs: distributional cues to categories available to young learners. In K. Hirsh-Pasek & R. M. Golinkoff (Eds.), Action Meets Word: How Children Learn Verbs (pp. 31-63). New York: Oxford University Press.

Mintz, T. H. (2005) Linguistic and conceptual influences on adjective acquisition in 24- and 36-month-olds. Developmental Psychology, 41, 17-29. -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. (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

Mintz, T.H., Newport, E.L. & Bever, T. G. (2002) The distributional structure of grammatical categories in speech to young children. Cognitive Science, 26, 393-424. -Link