Nic hiking up a mountain on the PCT

I’m a social scientist studying human communication on faculty in the School of Communication at The Ohio State University. My research investigates the mechanisms that bias moral judgments. I am most intrigued by the contexts that motivate people to perceive immoral actions as moral (or vice versa).

A major goal of my work is to understand and predict moral judgment biases by intersecting communication theory with moral psychology. To this end, I ground my investigations in entertainment theories (e.g., Zillmann & Raney’s affective disposition theories), processing theories (e.g., Lang’s limited capacity model for motivated mediated message processing), interpersonal theories (e.g., Burgoon’s expectancy violations theory), and moral psychological theories (e.g., DeScioli and Kurzban’s dynamic coordination theory & Haidt’s moral foundations theory).

Being primarily experimental, I commonly use open science tools to share my conceptualizations, predictions, operationalizations, datasets, and analyses with others.