Paul Minda

Dr. John Paul Minda

Cognitive, Developmental and Brain Sciences

Office: WIRB 5158
Tel: 519-661-2111 ext. 84689
Curriculum Vitae

  • Bio

  • Publications

  • Research

Biographical Information

My academic training is in experimental psychology and cognitive psychology. I received a BA from Hiram College in Hiram, Ohio in 1992. I earned a Master’s degree at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania in 1995. I received a PhD from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2000. I was also a Beckman Fellow postdoc at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology at the University of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign from 2000-2003.  I have been a faculty member at Western since 2003 and I am a core member of the Cognition area.

Visit my  Lab Page for information about my research, news, and information about joining my lab.
Visit my Google Scholar page for comprehensive publication list.
Follow my Twitter account for research news.

Selected Publications

Representative publications, please visit my Google Scholar page for comprehensive publication list.
 * Indicates a student co-author under my supervision

*Rabi, R. R. & Minda, J. P. (2017). Familiarization may minimize age-related declines in rule-based category learning. Psychology and Aging. 27, 654–674.

*Zhang, K. M., Swartzman, L. C., Patrella, R. J., Gill, D. P. & Minda, J. P. (2017). Explaining the Causal Links between Illness Management and Symptom: Development of an Evidence-based Patient Education Strategy. Patient Education and Counseling, 100, 1169-1176.

*Rabi, R. R. & Minda, J. P. (2016). Category learning in older adulthood: A study of the Shepard, Hovland, and Jenkins (1961) tasks. Psychology of Aging, 31, 185–197

Minda, J. P. (2015). The Psychology of Thinking: Reasoning, Decision-Making and Problem Solving. London, UK: SAGE Publications, Ltd. 

*Rabi, R. R., *Miles, S. J, & Minda, J. P. (2015) Learning categories via rules and similarity: comparing adults and children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 131, 149-169.

Goldszmidt, M., Minda, J. P., *Devantier, S. L., Skye, A. L., & Woods, N. N. (2011). Expanding the Basic Science Debate: The Role of Physics Knowledge in Interpreting Clinical Findings. Advances in Health Sciences Education, 17. 547-555

*Miles, S. J. & Minda, J. P. (2011). The effects of concurrent verbal and visual tasks on category learning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory & Cognition, 37, 588-607.

*Nadler, R. T., *Rabi, R. R. & Minda J. P. (2010). Better mood and better performance: Learning rule-described categories is enhanced by positive mood. Psychological Science, 21, 1770-1776.

Minda, J. P. & Smith, J. D. (2011). Prototype models of categorization: basic formulation, predictions, and limitations. In E. Pothos & A. Wills (Eds.) Formal Approaches in Categorization. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK.

Minda, J. P & *Miles, S. J. (2010). The Influence of Verbal and Nonverbal Processing on Category Learning. In B.H. Ross (Ed.). The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Vol 52, pp. 117-162.

Minda, J. P., Desroches, A, & Church, B. A. (2008). Learning rule-defined and non rule-defined categories: A comparison of children and adults. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning Memory & Cognition.34,1518-1533.


I conduct research on how people learn about categories and concepts, which fundamental cognitive resources are involved in category learning, and how conceptual structure influences thinking, reasoning, and decision-making.  My lab is supported by research grants from NSERC, SSHRC, and Mitacs.

One my main lines of research deals with the recruitment of various cognitive processes in category learning and how these different modes of category learning can be dissociated. For example, adults, children, and monkeys show some surprising similarities in their ability to learn novel categories of perceptual objects. All three groups are able to easily learn categories that are defined by a single attribute (e.g. red things) or those that are defined by overall family resemblance (e.g. things are usually red, but not always). However, adults can also learn disjunctive categories easily. Monkeys cannot, and younger children are impaired relative to adults. My students and I are working to try to understand the nature of these effects and working to refine our model of multiple systems of category learning.

Visit my  Lab Page for information about my research, news, and information about joining my lab.
Visit my Google Scholar page for comprehensive publication list.
Follow my Twitter account for research news.