Control Preference Persists With Age

Eric C.M. Chantland, Kainan S. Wang, Mauricio R. Delgado, Susan M. Ravizza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The opportunity to exert control in one’s environment is desirable, and individuals are willing to seek out control, even at a financial cost. Additionally, control-related activation of reward regions in the brain and the positive affect associated with the opportunity to exert control suggest that control is rewarding. The present study explores whether there are age-related differences in the preference for control. Older and younger adults chose whether to maintain control and play a guessing game themselves or to cede this control to the computer. Maintaining and ceding control were associated with different amounts of monetary reward that could be banked upon a successful guess. This required participants to weigh the value associated with control compared to monetary rewards. We found that older adults preferred control and traded monetary reward for control, similar to younger adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)843-847
Number of pages5
JournalPsychology and Aging
Issue number7
StatePublished - Sep 29 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


  • Aging
  • Choice
  • Perceived control
  • Preference for control
  • Reward


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