Understanding Older Adults’ Preferences for and Motivations to Use Traditional and New ICT in Light of Socioemotional Selectivity and Selection, Optimization, and Compensation Theories

Pradnya Joshi, Anastasia Kononova, Shelia Cotten


We explored older adults’ use of a wide range of traditional and new ICTs under the framework of socioemotional selectivity theory (SST) and selection, optimization, and compensation (SOC) theory. Twenty-eight in-depth face-to-face interviews with older adults aged 65 and older indicate that, in accordance with the theories of SOC and SST, older adults’ decision to use a specific ICT, traditional or new, is based on cost–benefit analysis. Participants reported valuing traditional electronic media, despite its low perceived benefit, for low perceived cost in terms of time and effort invested in adopting the media. They also reported willingness to invest time and effort in learning and using new ICTs, despite it being costly, when the ICT was perceived as effective in fulfilment of life goals. Recommendations for future technology developers and advancing theory are provided.


older adults, traditional media, new ICTs, socioemotional selectivity theory, selection, optimization, and compensation theory

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