Waiting lists to receive a kidney They are endless. In the United States alone, 40,000 people a year suffer from almost terminal kidney diseases. For many cases, it is preferable to have a transplant rather than go through a dialysis treatment three times a week and several hours a day.
100,000 patients are on the waiting list. 4,000 are added to the list every month. So, when you finally have the transplant, it would be reasonable to accept it, right? No, more than 95% of the kidneys offered are rejected. And many cases the kidney is fully compatible. So what happens?
Juanjuan Zhang, MIT professor, wanted to analyze what problem was with the rejections, discovering a social level that had gone unnoticed. Jonah Berger summarize your results in the book Contagious:
Let's say you are the person who occupies the number one hundred on the list. A kidney should have been offered first to the first, then to the second, and so on. So, for it to have reached you it must have been rejected by ninety-nine people. This is where the social proof comes into play. If so many people have rejected that kidney, people assume that it should not be too good. They deduce that it is of poor quality and is more likely to be rejected. In fact, this kind of presupposition makes one in ten people who reject a kidney do it wrongly. Thousands of patients reject kidneys that they should have accepted. Although people cannot communicate directly with others on the list, they make their decisions based on the behavior of others.