The Analysis of Verbal Behavior

, Volume 34, Issue 1–2, pp 24–43 | Cite as

Examination of the Effects of Auditory and Textual Stimuli on Response Accuracy and Latency during a Math Task and Tangram Puzzle

  • Tiffany KodakEmail author
  • Samantha Bergmann
  • Brittany LeBlanc
  • Michael J. Harman
  • Maryam Ayazi


Although Skinner (1957) provided a behavioral account of verbal thinking, additional research is needed to evaluate stimuli that may influence covert verbal behavior that occurs between the onset of a verbal stimulus and the emission of a response during an episode of verbal thinking. The present investigation examined the effects of auditory distractors and/or textual stimuli during arithmetic problems and tangram puzzles on the participants’ response latency and accuracy. In addition, we measured and categorized occurrences of vocal verbal behavior during the response interval. In Experiments 1 and 2, the experimenter played auditory distractors during a proportion of arithmetic problems. In Experiment 2, the experimenter also presented a textual stimulus of the arithmetic problem. In Experiment 3, the experimenter played auditory distractors during a proportion of tangram puzzles. Results showed that auditory distractors led to longer response latencies and reduced accuracy in Experiment 1. The addition of the textual stimulus during trials in Experiment 2 improved accuracy and reduced differences in response latency when the auditory distractors were and were not present during the response interval. The auditory distractors during tangram puzzles in Experiment 3 produced no differential effects on accuracy or latency to respond.


Echoic behavior Response latency Verbal behavior Verbal thinking 



We thank Leah Bohl, Sarah Farhan, Ella Gorgan, Michelle Helms, Zhanxu Liu, Theresa Mayland, and Stephanie Zettel for their assistance with data collection.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tiffany Kodak
    • 1
    Email author
  • Samantha Bergmann
    • 2
  • Brittany LeBlanc
    • 3
  • Michael J. Harman
    • 4
  • Maryam Ayazi
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMarquette UniversityMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Behavior AnalysisUniversity of North TexasDentonUSA
  3. 3.May InstituteRandolphUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyBriar Cliff UniversitySioux CityUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Wisconsin-MilwaukeeMilwaukeeUSA

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