Finding Common Ground

Andrea Dailey, Dr. Matthew Stapleton, Psychological Science, University of North Georgia, 3820 Mundy Mill Road, Oakwood, GA 30566

This presentation examines a theoretical application of Moral Foundations Theory, as developed by Jonathan Haidt, to the problem of polarization on social media. In today’s divided political arena, people on Facebook and other social media seem to assume that they have nothing in common with those who have different political ideologies. Those same people who disagree could do so much more about the problems we face as a society if they could find common ground upon which they can agree. Moral Foundations Theory explains the different foundations for people’s political convictions. This presentation will focus on helping people understand those foundational differences and how they can find common ground with others, thus improving personal relationships on social media and in real life. As people experience material that only bolsters their point of view, they become more entrenched in their own views. Showing how people have more in common than they perceive can help dissolve some of the polarization and discord on social media.  This presentation will discuss the five moral foundations and which are most important to conservatives and liberals, respectively. The problem and history of how social media’s evolution has contributed to polarization will be discussed. Application of Moral Foundations Theory to examples of specific issues will demonstrate how issues can be reframed using different moral foundations that might appeal to those of differing political persuasions, including research that has been conducted in this area. Finally, a discussion will ensue showing how individuals can change their approach to controversial issues by utilizing the five moral foundations to improve communication and relationship quality between individuals on a personal level.  

Additional Abstract Information

Presenter: Andrea Dailey

Institution: University of North Georgia

Type: Poster

Subject: Psychology

Status: Approved

Time and Location

Session: Poster 11
Date/Time: Wed 3:00pm-4:00pm
Session Number: 7029