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Study: Organ Recipients Picky About Donor Background

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ANN ARBOR (WWJ) – A new study by the University of Michigan shows that a large number of people in the U.S. and India would decline an organ donation or blood transfusion that came from someone with negative characteristics — such as a murderer.

Study co-author Susan Gelman says about 50 percent of the participants worried that their behavior or personality would change.

“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,” said Gelman. “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.”

He says people also believed their personality would change if they got an organ from an animal such as an ape or pig.

“Even if the donor was a very positive donor but perceived as different from themselves … a donation from someone with very high IQ or somebody who gives a lot of money to charity, they weren’t really too happy about that either.”

Gelman says participants had the same concern when it came to donors with positive and negative characteristics, so it appears that donors want to mirror themselves when it comes to donors.

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