Most of us confront the question of whether or not we want our organs harvested every time we apply for a new driver’s license. Typically, we have to choose between checking a box if we want to be donors or leaving the box empty if we don’t.
This is how most donor forms were designed. Then researchers wondered what they could do to increase the number of participants. They came up with the bright idea of giving people a choice between two boxes: mark the yes box to donate, mark the no box to decline. The reasoning went this way: if people can opt out passively, then they’re not necessarily thinking about the choice in front of them, whereas having to choose one way or the other will force them to consider their options more carefully, resulting in more affirmatives.
The reasoning makes perfect sense. However, people are not always reasonable.