Nicholas A. Palomares (Ph.D.; University of California, Santa Barbara; 2005) joined Moody College this Fall 2021 as a Professor in the Department of Communication Studies. Dr. Palomares is a first generation, Latinx, and genderfluid (pronouns: they/he/Nik’s) professor at UT Austin whose research aims to shed light on the goals communicators pursue, how they pursue them, and how other people gain an understanding of those goals. Nik also has expertise in gender-based communication. Dr. Palomares' work focuses on the fundamental processes of communication that transcend contexts, means, and modes of social interaction. Stated differently, although Professor Nik was trained in interpersonal communication and focuses on interpersonal communication, they are passionate about generating knowledge across multiple subareas (or contexts) of communication and are keen on collaborating in interdisciplinary and synergistic ways to achieve this objective. Professor Palomares leads the Goal Understanding & Communication Lab in the Department of Communication Studies at Texas. Nik teaches courses on empirical research methods, theory construction in communication science, and assorted topics focused on interpersonal communication processes.
Professor Palomares’ current projects emphasize goal pursuit and understanding regarding a diverse set of communicative phenomena in a variety of communicative settings, such as bullying and cyberbullying (message severity, mental health implications, coping, public vs private cyberbullying, etc.), relational development (closeness, commitment, teasing, topic avoidance, conflict, etc.), heuristic processing of online fact-checking, media portrayals of sexual assault, and other contexts, wherein people engage in goal-directed behavior, message recipients tend to infer those goals, and these processes unfold in meaningful and consequential ways. Nik examines these mechanisms in mediated and face-to-face contexts, employing a variety of quantitative social scientific methods, including—but not limited to—experimentation, surveys, topic modeling, machine learning, and other traditional and more state-of-the-art methods.
Dr. Palomares’ research has appeared in top journals, such as Human Communication Research, Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, Communication Monographs, Communication Research, Journal of Language and Social Psychology, and Journal of Social and Personal Relationships; and in edited volumes, such as The Handbook of Communication Science and Biology, The Handbook of Intergroup Communication, and The SAGE Handbook of Interpersonal Communication. They have served as the Chair of the Communication and Social Cognition Division of the National Communication Association and as an Associate Editor for Human Communication Research. Dr. Palomares’ research has received several awards from the National Communication Association and the International Communication Association.