Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Cynthia Pietras

Second Advisor

Dr. Wayne Fuqua

Third Advisor

Dr. James Carr

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Campus Only


It has been suggested that verbally sophisticated individuals learn to engage in covert problem-solving behaviors (e.g., covert intraverbal behavior, grouping stimuli, visual imagery) in order to generate responses to questions (Palmer, 1991; Skinner, 1953). Sautter (2007) examined the effects of teaching a problem-solving strategy in the form of verbal rule statements to typically developing children and demonstrated that the children learned to use the strategy as a means for generating responses to complex categorization questions. The purpose of the present study was to conduct a systematic replication of the Sautter study and extend it by evaluating the effects of visual imagery as a strategy for generating responses to categorization questions.

The results of the present study extend the literature on the utility of teaching children to use covert problem-solving behaviors by demonstrating the effectiveness of visual imagery as a strategy for increasing intraverbal categorization responses. Four typically developing children between the ages of 4 years 5 months and 5 years 6 months participated in the study. The visual problem-solving strategy was effective for increasing intraverbal categorization responses for three out of four participants. The results are discussed in terms of Skinner's analysis of problem solving and development of visual imagery.