Description of the Strategy

Time-out, sometimes referred to as “time-out from positive reinforcement,” is a punishment procedure in which the occurrence of misbehavior results in fewer reinforcing conditions for a given period of time. Based on the behavioral principle of extinction (withholding reinforcement), the underlying assumption is that problem behavior will likely decrease in frequency if followed by a period of fewer reinforcing conditions.

Procedures for time-out can range from least restrictive to most restrictive. The manipulation of the environment in which the teacher temporarily denies the student access to a reinforcer would be an example of a less restrictive form of time-out. Student problem behavior results in the teacher removing the reinforcer (i.e., adult or peer attention, a tangible object) for a ...

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