According to the findings of the study conducted by the researchers at the University of Michigan, a large number of recipients decline the offer of organ donation or transfusion for possible threat of behavior or personality change, if such organs came from donors with negative characteristics.
“Since blood transfusions are so common and relatively straightforward, we had expected people might think that they have very little effect,” study co-author Susan Gelman said.
“There is a real sense in which we think that the way you are as a person and what your personality is and what behaviors you engage in – are really deeply part of who you are – through and through,” Gelman said. “So, if someone else were to get some of that inner essence of who you are – they are going to become a little bit more like you.”
For the purpose of the study, researchers showed the study volunteers a list of possible human donors.
The participants were asked if they would opt for a donor who was of the same gender and sexual orientation and came from a similar background.
The participants were also required to rate if they would consider possible donors’ age and personality traits like IQ, empathy, philanthropist, thief, gambler or murderer.
The participants were also asked if they believed that a transplant would infuse in them similar personality and behavior traits as of their donor.
Findings revealed that participants preferred having a donor with similar personality and behavior traits as their own than a donor with negative qualities.
“People generally think that behavior and personality trails are partly due to something hidden deep inside their blood or bodily organs,” researchers marked. Notions about blood transfusions were equally important as views on heart transplants, the team highlighted.
“From the medical point of view, this is beginning to look like a promising way of addressing donor shortages,” study co-author Sarah-Jane Leslie, an assistant professor of philosophy at Princeton University. “But these results indicate that potential recipients could struggle with the belief that accepting such a donation will profoundly change who they are.”
The findings of the study appear in the journal Cognitive Science.