Similar to Where exactly do Emotions and Feelings arise in the human body?, I have been hearing of a phenomenon where transplant patients have been experiencing changes in preferences to match their donors. These changes have been known to include changes in food preference, and tastes in music.

Looking into it, I stumbled across Pearsall, et al. (2002) where they attempted to evaluate whether changes following heart transplant surgery parallel the history of the donors.

We conducted open-ended interviews with volunteer transplant recipients, recipient families or friends, and donor families or friends, in hospitals in various parts of the country. Patients included ten recipients who had received heart or heart–lung transplants. Main outcome measures were transcripts of audiotaped interviews quoted verbatim. Two to 5 parallels per case were observed between changes following surgery and the histories of the donors. Parallels included changes in food, music, art, sexual, recreational, and career preferences, as well as specific instances of perceptions of names and sensory experiences related to the donors.

They suggested that cellular memory, possibly systemic memory, is a plausible explanation for these parallels; and it seems one of the authors of this paper wrote a book about the prior research (Pearsall, 1999), which I haven't read yet.

Has there been a consensus developed on this in the last 20 years since this paper?


Pearsall, P. (1999). The heart's code: Tapping the wisdom and power of our heart energy. Harmony.

Pearsall, P., Schwartz, G. E. & Russek, L. G. (2002). Changes in heart transplant recipients that parallel the personalities of their donors. Journal of Near-Death Studies 20, 191–206. https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1013009425905



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