Psychology of personal data donation

Autoři: Anya Skatova aff001;  James Goulding aff002
Působiště autorů: School of Psychological Science, University of Bristol, Bristol, England, United Kingdom aff001;  Horizon Digital Economy Research, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, England, United Kingdom aff002;  Alan Turing Institute, London, England, United Kingdom aff003;  N/lab, Nottingham Business School, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, England, United Kingdom aff004
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224240


Advances in digital technology have led to large amounts of personal data being recorded and retained by industry, constituting an invaluable asset to private organizations. The implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation in the EU, including the UK, fundamentally reshaped how data is handled across every sector. It enables the general public to access data collected about them by organisations, opening up the possibility of this data being used for research that benefits the public themselves; for example, to uncover lifestyle causes of poor health outcomes. A significant barrier for using this commercial data for academic research, however, is the lack of publicly acceptable research frameworks. Data donation—the act of an individual actively consenting to donate their personal data for research—could enable the use of commercial data for the benefit of society. However, it is not clear which motives, if any, would drive people to donate their personal data for this purpose. In this paper we present the results of a large-scale survey (N = 1,300) that studied intentions and reasons to donate personal data. We found that over half of individuals are willing to donate their personal data for research that could benefit the wider general public. We identified three distinct reasons to donate personal data: an opportunity to achieve self-benefit, social duty, and the need to understand the purpose of data donation. We developed a questionnaire to measure those three reasons and provided further evidence on the validity of the scales. Our results demonstrate that these reasons predict people’s intentions to donate personal data over and above generic altruistic motives. We show that a social duty is the strongest predictor of the intention to donate personal data, while understanding the purpose of data donation also positively predicts the intentions to donate personal data. In contrast, self-serving motives show a negative association with intentions to donate personal data. The findings presented here examine people’s reasons for data donation to help inform the ethical use of commercially collected personal data for academic research for public good.

Klíčová slova:

Altruistic behavior – Behavior – Blood donation – Emotions – Factor analysis – Motivation – Prosocial behavior – Social research


1. Anderson ET, Simester D. Advertising in a Competitive Market: The Role of Product Standards, Customer Learning, and Switching Costs. J Mark Res. SAGE Publications Inc; 2013;50: 489–504.

2. Kim YJ, Han J. Why smartphone advertising attracts customers: A model of Web advertising, flow, and personalization. Comput Human Behav. 2014;33: 256–269.

3. Rotfeld HJ. Movie theaters’ suicide-by-advertising with income from abusing customers [Internet]. Journal of Consumer Marketing. 2006. pp. 480–482. doi: 10.1108/07363760610718069

4. Bidargaddi N, Musiat P, Makinen V-P, Ermes M, Schrader G, Licinio J. Digital footprints: facilitating large-scale environmental psychiatric research in naturalistic settings through data from everyday technologies. Mol Psychiatry.; 2017;22: 164–169.

5. Bietz MJ, Bloss CS, Calvert S, Godino JG, Gregory J, Claffey MP, et al. Opportunities and challenges in the use of personal health data for health research. J Am Med Inform Assoc.; 2016;23: e42–8. doi: 10.1093/jamia/ocv118 26335984

6. Harjumaa M, Saraniemi S, Pekkarinen S, Lappi M, Similä H, Isomursu M. Feasibility of digital footprint data for health analytics and services: an explorative pilot study. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. bmcmedinformdecismak …; 2016;16: 139. doi: 10.1186/s12911-016-0378-0 27829413

7. Stenhaug M, Johansen HD, Johansen D. Transforming Healthcare through Life-Long Personal Digital Footprints. 2016 IEEE First International Conference on Connected Health: Applications, Systems and Engineering Technologies (CHASE).; 2016. pp. 36–41.

8. Skatova A, Stewart N, Flavahan E, Goulding J. Those Whose Calorie Consumption Varies Most Eat Most. Preprint, 2019,

9. Dzogang F, Goulding J, Lightman S, Cristianini N. Seasonal Variation in Collective Mood via Twitter Content and Medical Purchases. Advances in Intelligent Data Analysis XVI. Springer International Publishing; 2017. pp. 63–74.

10. EUGDPR–Information Portal [Internet]. [cited 3 May 2019].

11. Harvey J, Smith A, Goulding J, Branco-Illodo I. Food Sharing, Redistribution, and Waste Reduction via Mobile Applications: A Social Network Analysis (Forthcoming). Industrial Marketing Management. Elsevier; 2019;

12. Cox J, Nguyen T, Thorpe A, Ishizaka A, Chakhar S, Meech L. Being seen to care: The relationship between self-presentation and contributions to online pro-social crowdfunding campaigns. Comput Human Behav. 2018;83: 45–55.

13. Vaidya M. Ice bucket challenge cash may help derisk ALS drug research. Nat Med. 2014;20: 1080. doi: 10.1038/nm1014-1080 25295924

14. Glenn CL. Activism or “Slacktivism?”: Digital Media and Organizing for Social Change. Communication Teacher. Routledge; 2015;29: 81–85.

15. Lane DS, Dal Cin S. Sharing beyond Slacktivism: the effect of socially observable prosocial media sharing on subsequent offline helping behavior. Inf Commun Soc. Routledge; 2018;21: 1523–1540.

16. Taddeo M. Data philanthropy and the design of the infraethics for information societies. Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2016;374. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2016.0113 28336792

17. Center for Inclusive Growth, Mastercard [Internet].

18. Schwartz SH, Bilsky W. Toward a theory of the universal content and structure of values: Extensions and cross-cultural replications [Internet]. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1990. pp. 878–891. doi: 10.1037/0022-3514.58.5.878

19. Foster V. The Price of Virtue: The Economic Value of the Charitable Sector. Edward Elgar Publishing; 2001.

20. Batson CD. Prosocial Motivation: Is it ever Truly Altruistic? In: Berkowitz L, editor. Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. Academic Press; 1987. pp. 65–122.

21. Pillavin JA, Callero P. Giving blood: The development of an altruistic identity. Baltimore, MD, US: Johns Hopkins University Press.; 1991.

22. Frey BS, Meier S. Social comparisons and pro-social behavior: Testing”conditional cooperation” in a field experiment. Am Econ Rev. 2004;94: 1717–1722.

23. Waugh W, Brownell C, Pollock B. Early socialization of prosocial behavior: Patterns in parents’ encouragement of toddlers’ helping in an everyday household task [Internet]. Infant Behavior and Development. 2015. pp. 1–10. doi: 10.1016/j.infbeh.2014.12.010 25682218

24. Penner LA, Dovidio JF, Piliavin JA, Schroeder DA. Prosocial behavior: multilevel perspectives. Annu Rev Psychol. 2005;56: 365–392. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.56.091103.070141 15709940

25. de Waal FBM. Putting the altruism back into altruism: the evolution of empathy. Annu Rev Psychol. 2008;59: 279–300. doi: 10.1146/annurev.psych.59.103006.093625 17550343

26. Kurzban R, Burton-Chellew MN, West SA. The evolution of altruism in humans. Annu Rev Psychol. 2015;66: 575–599. doi: 10.1146/annurev-psych-010814-015355 25061670

27. Weinstein N, Ryan RM. When helping helps: autonomous motivation for prosocial behavior and its influence on well-being for the helper and recipient. J Pers Soc Psychol. 2010;98: 222–244. doi: 10.1037/a0016984 20085397

28. Bednall TC, Bove LL, Cheetham A, Murray AL. A systematic review and meta-analysis of antecedents of blood donation behavior and intentions. Soc Sci Med. 2013;96: 86–94. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2013.07.022 24034955

29. Evans R, Ferguson E. Defining and measuring blood donor altruism: a theoretical approach from biology, economics and psychology. Vox Sang. 2014;106: 118–126. doi: 10.1111/vox.12080 24117697

30. Andreoni J. Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving. Econ J Nepal. [Royal Economic Society, Wiley]; 1990;100: 464–477.

31. Ferguson E, Taylor M, Keatley D, Flynn N, Lawrence C. Blood donors’ helping behavior is driven by warm glow: more evidence for the blood donor benevolence hypothesis. Transfusion. Wiley Online Library; 2012;52: 2189–2200.

32. Batson CD, Ahmad N, Tsang J-A. Four Motives for Community Involvement. J Soc Issues. 2002;58: 429–445.

33. Lemmens KPH, Abraham C, Ruiter RAC, Veldhuizen IJT, Dehing CJG, Bos AER, et al. Modelling antecedents of blood donation motivation among non-donors of varying age and education [Internet]. British Journal of Psychology. 2009. pp. 71–90. doi: 10.1348/000712608X310237 18547458

34. Bergstrom TC, Garratt RJ, Sheehan-Connor D. One Chance in a Million: Altruism and the Bone Marrow Registry. Am Econ Rev. 2009;99: 1309–1334. 29508972

35. Luccasen A, Grossman PJ. WARM-GLOW GIVING: EARNED MONEY AND THE OPTION TO TAKE [Internet]. Economic Inquiry. 2017. pp. 996–1006. doi: 10.1111/ecin.12417

36. Carpenter JP. The Shape of Warm Glow: Field Experimental Evidence from a Fundraiser [Internet]. 2018.

37. Godin G, Conner M, Sheeran P, Bélanger-Gravel A, Germain M. Determinants of repeated blood donation among new and experienced blood donors. Transfusion. 2007;47: 1607–1615. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2007.01331.x 17725724

38. Mujcic R, Leibbrandt A. Indirect Reciprocity and Prosocial Behaviour: Evidence from a Natural Field Experiment [Internet]. The Economic Journal. 2018. pp. 1683–1699. doi: 10.1111/ecoj.12474

39. Steele WR, Schreiber GB, Guiltinan A, Nass C, Glynn SA, Wright DJ, et al. role of altruistic behavior, empathetic concern, and social responsibility motivation in blood donation behavior. Transfusion. 2008;48: 43–54. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2007.01481.x 17894795

40. Clark MS, Mills J, Powell MC. Keeping track of needs in communal and exchange relationships [Internet]. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 1986. pp. 333–338. doi: 10.1037//0022-3514.51.2.333 3746615

41. Telle N-T, Pfister H-R. Positive Empathy and Prosocial Behavior: A Neglected Link. Emot Rev. SAGE Publications; 2016;8: 154–163.

42. Skatova A, Spence A, Leygue C, Ferguson E. Guilty repair sustains cooperation, angry retaliation destroys it. Sci Rep. 2017;7: 46709. doi: 10.1038/srep46709 28447613

43. Massi Lindsey LL. Anticipated guilt as behavioral motivation: An examination of appeals to help unknown others through bone marrow donation. Hum Commun Res. Oxford University Press; 2005;31: 453–481.

44. Malti T, Ongley SF, Peplak J, Chaparro MP, Buchmann M, Zuffianò A, et al. Children’s Sympathy, Guilt, and Moral Reasoning in Helping, Cooperation, and Sharing: A 6-Year Longitudinal Study. Child Dev. Wiley Online Library; 2016;87: 1783–1795.

45. Albouy J. Emotions and prosocial behaviours: A study of the effectiveness of shocking charity campaigns. Recherche et Applications en Marketing (English Edition). SAGE Publications; 2017;32: 4–25.

46. De Hooge IE, Zeelenberg M, Breugelmans SM. Moral sentiments and cooperation: Differential influences of shame and guilt. Cognition and emotion. Taylor & Francis; 2007;21: 1025–1042.

47. Lemmens KPH, Abraham C, Hoekstra T, Ruiter RAC, De Kort WLAM, Brug J, et al. Why don’t young people volunteer to give blood? An investigation of the correlates of donation intentions among young nondonors. Transfusion. 2005;45: 945–955. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2005.04379.x 15934993

48. Skatova A, Ng E, Goulding J. Data Donation: Sharing Personal Data for Public Good. Application of Digital Innovation London, England: N-Lab. 2014;

49. Ferguson E. Predictors of future behaviour: A review of the psychological literature on blood donation. Br J Health Psychol. 1996;1: 287–308.

50. Giles M, Cairns E. Blood donation and Ajzen’s theory of planned behaviour: an examination of perceived behavioural control. Br J Soc Psychol. 1995;34(Pt 2): 173–188.

51. Masser BM, Bednall TC, White KM, Terry D. Predicting the retention of first-time donors using an extended Theory of Planned Behavior [Internet]. Transfusion. 2012. pp. 1303–1310. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2011.03479.x 22257135

52. McMahon R, Byrne M. Predicting donation among an Irish sample of donors and nondonors: extending the theory of planned behavior. Transfusion. 2008;48: 321–331. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2007.01526.x 18028275

53. Robinson NG, Masser BM, White KM, Hyde MK, Terry DJ. Predicting intentions to donate blood among nondonors in Australia: an extended theory of planned behavior. Transfusion. 2008;48: 2559–2567. doi: 10.1111/j.1537-2995.2008.01904.x 18717776

54. Carlo G, Randall BA. The Development of a Measure of Prosocial Behaviors for Late Adolescents. J Youth Adolesc. 2002;31: 31–44.

55. Skatova A, Ferguson E. Why do different people choose different university degrees? Motivation and the choice of degree. Front Psychol. 2014;5: 1244. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01244 25431561

56. Conner M, Godin G, Sheeran P, Germain M. Some feelings are more important: cognitive attitudes, affective attitudes, anticipated affect, and blood donation. Health Psychol. 2013;32: 264–272. doi: 10.1037/a0028500 22612559

57. Philippe Rushton J, Chrisjohn RD, Cynthia Fekken G. The altruistic personality and the self-report altruism scale. Pers Individ Dif. 1981;2: 293–302.

58. Davis MH. Measuring individual differences in empathy: Evidence for a multidimensional approach. J Pers Soc Psychol. American Psychological Association; 1983;44: 113.

59. Goldberg LR, Johnson JA, Eber HW, Hogan R, Ashton MC, Cloninger CR, et al. The international personality item pool and the future of public-domain personality measures. J Res Pers. Elsevier; 2006;40: 84–96.

60. Lockwood PL, Seara-Cardoso A, Viding E. Emotion regulation moderates the association between empathy and prosocial behavior. PLoS One. 2014;9: e96555. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0096555 24810604

61. Decety J, Bartal IB-A, Uzefovsky F, Knafo-Noam A. Empathy as a driver of prosocial behaviour: highly conserved neurobehavioural mechanisms across species. Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2016;371: 20150077. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2015.0077 26644596

62. Batson CD, Ahmad N, Lishner DA, Tsang J. Empathy and altruism. Oxford handbook of hypo-egoic phenomena: Theory and research on the quiet ego.; 2016; 161–174.

63. Wray-Lake L, Syvertsen AK. The developmental roots of social responsibility in childhood and adolescence. New Dir Child Adolesc Dev. Wiley Online Library; 2011;2011: 11–25.

64. Carlo G, Okun MA, Knight GP, de Guzman MRT. The interplay of traits and motives on volunteering: agreeableness, extraversion and prosocial value motivation. Pers Individ Dif. Elsevier; 2005;38: 1293–1305.

65. Habashi MM, Graziano WG, Hoover AE. Searching for the Prosocial Personality: A Big Five Approach to Linking Personality and Prosocial Behavior. Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2016;42: 1177–1192. doi: 10.1177/0146167216652859 27401167

66. R Core Team R, Others. R: A language and environment for statistical computing. R foundation for statistical computing Vienna, Austria; 2013.

67. Hu L, Bentler PM. Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Struct Equ Modeling. Routledge; 1999;6: 1–55.

68. Kappes A, Nussberger A-M, Faber NS, Kahane G, Savulescu J, Crockett MJ. Uncertainty about the impact of social decisions increases prosocial behaviour. Nature Human Behaviour. Nature Publishing Group; 2018;2: 573–580.

69. Ajzen I. From Intentions to Actions: A Theory of Planned Behavior. In: Kuhl J, Beckmann J, editors. Action Control: From Cognition to Behavior. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer Berlin Heidelberg; 1985. pp. 11–39.

70. Delaney MF, White KM. Predicting People’s Intention to Donate Their Body to Medical Science and Research. J Soc Psychol. 2015;155: 221–237. doi: 10.1080/00224545.2014.998962 25559925

71. Skatova A, McDonald RL, Ma S, Maple C. Unpacking Privacy: Willingness to pay to protect personal data. Preprint, 2019,

72. Bartsch A, Kloß A. Personalized charity advertising. Can personalized prosocial messages promote empathy, attitude change, and helping intentions toward stigmatized social groups? International Journal of Advertising. Routledge; 2018; 1–19.

73. Urbonavicius S, Adomaviciute K, Urbutyte I, Cherian J. Donation to charity and purchase of cause-related products: The influence of existential guilt and experience. Journal of Consumer Behaviour. Wiley Online Library; 2019;18: 89–96.

74. Schattke K, Ferguson R, Paulin M. Motivations to support charity-linked events after exposure to Facebook appeals: Emotional cause identification and distinct self-determined regulations. Motivation Science. Educational Publishing Foundation; 2018;4: 315.

75. Chierchia G, Singer T. Chapter 20—The Neuroscience of Compassion and Empathy and Their Link to Prosocial Motivation and Behavior. In: Dreher J-C, Tremblay L, editors. Decision Neuroscience. San Diego: Academic Press; 2017. pp. 247–257.

76. Weisz E, Zaki J. Motivated empathy: a social neuroscience perspective. Curr Opin Psychol. Elsevier; 2018;24: 67–71.

Článek vyšel v časopise


2019 Číslo 11