Who gives life? Understanding, explaining and predicting blood donor behaviour (DONORS)

Why do individuals repeatedly help strangers even when this incurs personal costs? Current evidence on prosocial behaviour is contradictory, scattered across disciplines, restricted to one-country studies, does not take into account contextual influences, and fails to capture its dynamic nature. An integrated model is needed to increase understanding of prosociality as a societal core value.

To grasp the dynamic and contextual nature of prosocial behaviour, we use a life course model to link individual determinants, social network characteristics and societal contexts. We will test the model in the case of blood donation, as an example of real world prosociality where a stranger is helped at a donor’s personal costs.

DONORS comprises three interlinked work packages:
1) Dynamic interplay among individual and network determinants of donor behaviour over the life course;
2) Genetic determinants of prosociality;
3) Contextual variation in blood donor behaviour across countries and collection regimes.

The DONORS project is led by Eva-Maria Merz and funded by the European Research Council.

Find out more at the DONORS project website.