The effect of reciprocity priming on organ donor registration intentions and behavior



O 'Carroll RE, Quigley J & Miller CB (2019) The effect of reciprocity priming on organ donor registration intentions and behavior. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 53 (6), pp. 592-595.

Background: Internationally the demand for organ transplants far exceeds the available supply of donated organs. Purpose: We examine if a digital reciprocity prime based on reciprocal altruism can be used to increase organ donor registration intentions and behavior. Methods: 420 participants (223 females) from England and Scotland aged 18+ who were not currently registered organ donors were randomized by block allocation using a 1:1 ratio to receive either a reciprocity prime or control message. After manipulation, they were asked to indicate their organ donation intentions and whether or not they would like to be taken to an organ donation registration and information page. Results: In line with our previous work, participants primed with a reciprocity statement reported greater intent to register as an organ donor than controls (using a 7-point Likert scale where higher scores = greater intention; prime mean = 4.3 (1.6) vs. control mean = 3.7 (1.4), P =< .001, d =0.4 [95%CI = 0.21-0.59]). There was again however, no effect on behavior as rates of participants agreeing to receive the donation register web-link were comparable between those primed at 11% (n= 23/210) [95%CI = 7.4-16.0] and controls at 12% (n= 25/210) [95%CI = 8.1-17.1], X²(1) = 0.09, p = .759. Conclusions: Reciprocal altruism appears useful for increasing intention towards joining the organ donation register. It does not however appear to increase organ donor behavior.

Reciprocal Altruism; Reciprocity Priming; Organ Donation

Annals of Behavioral Medicine: Volume 53, Issue 6

Publication date30/06/2019
Publication date online13/08/2018
Date accepted by journal20/06/2018

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Professor Ronan O'Carroll
Professor Ronan O'Carroll

Professor, Psychology

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