Chelsea Schein, a graduate student in social psychology, is the recipient of the 2018 $10,000 Frank Research in Public Communications Prize for her 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 presented her work at frank, a gathering for social change communication practitioners, academics, philanthropists, business leaders, and advocates who use strategic communication to drive social change, February 6 – 8, 2018 in Gainesville, Florida. Chelsea was selected as one of three finalists 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. The finalists presented their work at frank, where the audience voted Chelsea as the winner of the $10,000 prize.

Chelsea won for her work, “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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