Time-out from Positive Reinforcement

Often called “time out” for short, this term refers to a collection of very often-misused techniques. The general idea of time out is that a given reinforcer is removed for a short period of time, contingent upon some inappropriate behavior being emitted by an individual. While this can take the form of an individual having to go to a different setting (e.g., the common “time out chair”), time out need not take this form, and there are good reasons to avoid this use (e.g., accidentally reinforcing with attention, or accidentally reinforcing avoidance behavior). Time out can be accomplished within the given setting (e.g., a T.V. set is turned off for ten seconds following inappropriate hand flapping while watching).