The timeout placebo
I'm not sure the timeout works as a technique for encouraging proper behavior in young children. What I'm starting to think is that its main advantage is what it isn't. It might not achieve much, but at least it's not actively harmful like spanking or some other kind of physical punishment might be. It allows parents to they feel like they're doing something, while protecting children from their parents, and parents from the consequences of their bad decisions. If only for that reason it's worth doing.