This timely publication takes an in-depth look at the reasons behind the shortage of organs for transplantation. The research presented by psychologists and related behavioral researchers on the decision to donate organs explores unstated motivations, perceived risks, and unarticulated fears about the donating process. This volume focuses on laboratory research and field studies in areas from cognitive psychology to social psychology and from marketing research to policy analysis.

Table of Contents



  1. Why Psychological Research on Organ Donation?
    —James Shanteau and Richard Jackson Harris

I. Individual and Cognitive Factors

  1. Organ Donation Consent Decisions by the Next of Kin: An Experimental Simulation Approach
    —Richard Jackson Harris, John David Jasper, James Shanteau, and Stacy A. Smith
  2. Social–Cognitive Influences on the Willingness To Donate Organs
    —Barbara E. Nolan and Patrick J. McGrath
  3. Subjective Meaning of Terms Used in Organ Donation: Analysis of Word Associations
    —James Shanteau and Kimberly A. Linin
  4. Death Attitudes and Humor: Taking a Different Perspective on Organ Donation
    —Robert Shepherd and Herbert M. Lefcourt
  5. The Decision To Donate Organs: An Information–Integration Analysis
    —James Shanteau and John J. Skowronski

II. Social Psychological and Sociological Factors

  1. The Social Dilemma of Organ Donation: Opting In or Opting Out—Is That the Question?
    —Dick J. Hessing
  2. The Social Construction of Altruism in Organ Donation
    —Helen Levine Batten
  3. Perceptions of Mexican-Americans and Anglo-Americans Regarding Organ Donation Advertisements
    —Pat McIntyre
  4. The Minnesota Living Donor Studies: Implications for Organ Procurement
    —Eugene Borgida, Roberta G. Simmons, Cynthia Conner, and Kirsten Lombard
  5. Increasing the Number of People Who Agree To Donate Organs: Can Persuasion Work?
    —John J. Skowronski

III. Conceptualizations and Implications

  1. Me and Thee Versus Mine and Thine: How Perceptions of the Body Influence Organ Donation and Transplantation
    —Russell W. Belk
  2. Role Identity and Organ Donation: Some Suggestions Based on Blood Donation Research
    —Jane Allyn Piliavin
  3. The Use of Social Marketing To Encourage Organ Donation
    —Karen F. A. Fox
  4. Medical Technology and Public Meaning: The Case of Viable Organ Transplantation
    —Keren Ami Johnson
  5. Applicability of Health Promotion Strategies to Increasing Organ Donation
    —Kenneth A. Perkins
  6. The Vital Organ Shortage in the Year 2000: A New Problem and a New Proposal
    —Vinod K. Thukral and Gaylord Cummins

IV. Responses

  1. A Judgment/Decision-Making Psychologist Responds
    —Lola Lopes
  2. A Social Psychologist Responds
    —David J. Schneider
  3. A Policy Research Psychologist Responds
    —Kenneth R. Hammond
  4. Conclusion: We've Only Just Begun
    —Richard Jackson Harris and James Shanteau