Choice selection strategies and decision making are typically investigated using multiple-choice gambling paradigms that require participants to maximize reward payoff. However, research shows that performance in such paradigms suffers from individual biases towards the frequency of gains to choose smaller local gains over larger longer term gain, also referred to as melioration. Here, we developed a simple two-choice reward task, implemented in 186 healthy human adult subjects across the adult lifespan to understand the behavioral, computational, and neural bases of payoff maximization versus melioration. The observed reward choice behavior on this task was best explained by a reinforcement learning model of differential future reward prediction. Simultaneously recorded and source-localized electroencephalography (EEG) showed that diminished theta-band activations in the right rostral anterior cingulate cortex (rACC) correspond to greater reward payoff maximization, specifically during the presentation of cumulative reward information at the end of each task trial. Notably, these activations (greater rACC theta) predicted self-reported depressed mood symptoms, thereby showcasing a reward processing marker of potential clinical utility.