Control Alters Risk-Taking: The Motivating Impact of Action-Effectiveness in Different Risk Contexts

Noam Karsh, Idan Haklay, Noi Raijman, Almog Lampel, Ruud Custers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Risk-taking is traditionally explained through outcome-value expectancy models. Recently, however, it has been demonstrated that immediate versus delayed feedback increases risk-taking independently of expected value. The current work takes a novel approach to investigate behavioral motivation in different risk-taking contexts, building on recent progress in identifying the reinforcing impact of actioneffectiveness. Participants performed 1 of 2 different versions of the Balloon Analogue Risk task (BART) in which an action increases (Experiment 1 and 2) or decreases (Experiment 3) the risk of losing real money. Importantly, action-effectiveness was subtly manipulated. In 3 experiments, we found that action-effectiveness reinforces action tendency in both risk-taking contexts. In addition, the reinforcing effect was independent of participants’ explicit knowledge regarding the action-effectiveness manipulation and their deliberate expectancy-based risk strategy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-486
JournalMotivation Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • action-selection
  • control
  • motivation
  • risk-taking behavior
  • sense of agency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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