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Time-out

  • By: Patrick C. Friman
  • In: Encyclopedia of School Psychology
  • Edited by: Steven W. Lee
  • Subject:School/Educational Psychology (general), School Psychology, Educational Psychology

Time-out (TO) is the most commonly used procedure of child disciplinary tactic in the United States. TO, the abbreviation for time-out from positive reinforcement, was first tested with laboratory animals in the 1950s (Ferster, 1958) and subsequently widely used for treatment of child misbehavior, the successes of which have been reported regularly since the early 1960s (Wolf & colleagues, 1964). The laboratory version typically involved limiting animal access to motivating activities such as eating or drinking. The child version involved limiting the child's access to preferred experiences, especially social interaction and all forms of entertainment. In both versions, TO regularly produced a remarkable effect, a dramatic reduction in the behaviors for which it was used as a consequence. Numerous replications of this effect, coupled with ...

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