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Under Ownership and Control it says

A player controls the cards located in his or her out-of-play game areas (such as the hand, deck, discard pile).

Also under In Play and Out of Play, it says

The cards that a player controls in his or her play area are considered in play.

If an encounter card then tells me to discard an asset under my control, can I choose a card from my hand that has not been put in play, as well as a card in my Play area?

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Cards in your hand are not in play, and cannot be discarded in this way. For example, if the mythos card says "discard 1 asset you control", it must be under the investigator's control (so on the table).

This is from the FAQ, under Rules Errata:

Rules Reference page 7, column 1, “Costs” The third bullet point should read: “When a player is exhausting, sacrificing, or otherwise using cards to pay costs, only cards that are in play and under that player’s control may be used...”

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