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Beyond the gambling paradigm: internal controllability in decision-making

E. Brandstätter , H. Schwarzenberger

Much research within decision-making has used the standard gambling paradigm, where decision outcomes depend only on chance. Many real life decisions, however, imply personal control over decision outcomes. This paper addressed the question of how internal controllability influences decision-making. Internal controllability is assumed (i) to enhance unrealistic optimism and (ii) to result in a better cost:benefit ratio. Both tendencies support each other and predict an enhanced attractiveness for internal and controllable choice options. Participants read a scenario and made a decision afterwards. Results supported the prediction: decision-makers take the option they can personally control. This finding widens the narrow perspective inherent in much previous research based on the gambling paradigm.

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: article in journal •
published in
: 2001 •
: Psychological Reports •
: adult, decision-making, female, gambling, humans, internal-external control, male, motivation, students