Chelsea Schein, a graduate student in social psychology, is one of the top three finalists for the 2018 Frank Research in Public Communications Prize, which includes one $10,000 prize and two $1,500 prizes for peer-reviewed academic research that informs the growing discipline of public interest communications.

The $10,000 prize is sponsored by the Joy McCann Foundation. Chelsea and the other finalists will present their work at frank, a gathering for social change communication practitioners, academics, philanthropists, business leaders, and advocates who use strategic communication to drive social change. The event takes place in Gainesville, Florida, February 6 – 9, 2018. The audience will vote for the winner of the $10,000 prize. The finalists were selected from a pool of 44 applicants by a review committee of scholars and practitioners. Papers were considered based on their applicability to the field, contribution to public interest communications as an interdisciplinary academic discipline, methodological rigor, and insight that can be used to innovate the social sector.

Chelsea was selected as a finalist for her paper, “The Unifying Moral Dyad: Liberals and Conservatives Share the Same Harm-Based Moral Template” in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. Her paper looks at moral disagreements regarding specific interests and if they reflect deep cognitive differences between liberals and conservatives. Dyadic morality suggests the answer is no. Despite moral diversity, moral cognition in both liberals and conservatives is rooted in a harm-based template. Political polarization is rampant – Chelsea’s work shows that the moral minds of liberals and conservatives are fundamentally the same, relying on the same harm-based mental processes. Emphasizing this moral similarity across the political divide provides a potential way to reduce polarization.

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