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Time-Out

Time-out from reinforcement, also referred to as timeout (TO), is a procedure in which positive reinforcement is not available for a specified period of time. During TO, the individual does not have access to positive reinforcers that are normally available in the setting. TO is a punishment procedure developed from laboratory animal research that evaluated the impact of temporarily suspending the opportunity to earn food reinforcement (i.e., time-out from reinforcement). Extrapolations of the laboratory procedure have been effective in changing behavior in many applied settings (e.g., classrooms; day care facilities; the home; institutions for children, adolescents, and adults with mental retardation or psychiatric disorders).

TO requires that sources of reinforcement (e.g., attention from the teacher, participation in an activity) are withdrawn for a brief period of ...

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