Accredited by the American Psychological Association
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Office: CHSS 324
Lab: CHSS 328
Office phone: (936) 294-2435
Welcome to the Personality, Diversity, & Law (PDL) Lab
Research Interests: For more details, please see my CV.
1. Hate Crimes & Sexual Minority Issues: This area of research addresses legal and clinical issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons. With hate crime laws as a back drop, my work examines whether evidence of sexual orientation-based and other minority-based hate serves as an aggravating factor in sentencing. It also examines what juror-related characteristics (e.g., sexual prejudice, authoritarianism) mitigate sentencing decisions. Current work analyzes these questions in jury samples across Texas and across the country, with particular interest on the need for affect and other emotional characteristics.
Of equal importance is the functional impact of hate crime victimization. As such, my research team currently runs the Legacy Project, a grant examining various social and clinical impacts of victimization. The project also focuses on identification of sexual minority-specific risk and protective factors for future assessment and intervention. Currently in planning is follow-up work to Project Legacy that will address sexual behavior, mental health, and crime perpetration impacts of sexual assault and stalking victimization. Finally, I also maintain a scholarly and training interest in LGBT issues as they pertain to ethical clinical practice.
2. Suicide: This domain of my work broadly addresses personality (e.g., Five-Factor Model), social (e.g., spirituality), cognitive (e.g., Interpersonal-Psychological Theory), and clinical (e.g., Axis II features) risk and protective factors to consider in assessment of suicide risk across client type (e.g., offenders, psychiatric inpatients, LGBT persons). Most recent work focuses on integration of personality and the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide in multiple samples. Future work in this area will incorporate the need for affect with trait and interpersonal characteristics. I also address clinician-related topics such as beliefs about suicide and addressing the need for training in suicide risk assessment. Immediate directions include setting the foundation for a clinical training grant application for training psychology doctoral students in suicide risk assessment.
3. Witness Testimony/Trial Consultation: This line of research examines mechanisms associated with the credibility and effectiveness of witness testimony. Research focuses on witness-related characteristics such as confidence, credibility, self-efficacy, and others. Additionally, juror traits and attitudes such as the Five-Factor Model and need for affect are examined as moderating variables of jury decision making. Recent work in this area has evaluated conceptual distinctions between witness credibility, efficacy, and personality, as well as perceived similarity with expert witnesses. Future directions may include further development of the Witness Self-Efficacy Scale, and evaluation of self-efficacy based models of witness preparation. PLEASE NOTE: I do not do eyewitness identification research.
***For any interested students, please note I will be focusing my work on the hate crimes/sexual minority issues and suicide domains moving forward. I will not pursue trial psychology research unless it stands to make a significant contribution to the field (e.g., empirical investigation of witness preparation models).
Cramer, R.J., Clark, J.W., Kehn A, Burks, A.C., & Wechsler, H.J. (In Press). A Mock Juror Investigation of Blame Attribution in the Punishment of Hate Crime Perpetrators. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry.
Cramer, R.J., Nobles, M.R., Amacker, A.M., & Dovoedo, L.F. (In Press). Defining and Evaluating Perceptions of Victim Blame. Journal of Interpersonal Violence.
Cramer, R.J., DeCoster, J., Neal, T.M.S., & Brodsky, S.L. (2013). The Observed Witness Efficacy Scale: A Measure of Effective Testimony Skills. Journal of Applied Social Psychology. 43, 1696-1703.
Cramer, R.J., Johnson, S.M., McLaughlin, J., Rausch, E.M., & Conroy, M.A. (2013). Suicide Risk Assessment for Psychology Doctoral Programs: Core Competencies and a Framework for Training. Training and Education in Professional Psychology, 7, 1-11.
Cramer, R.J., Kehn, A., Pennington, C.R., Wechsler, H.J., Clark, J.W., & Nagle, J. (2013). An examination of sexual orientation- and transgender-based hate crimes in the post-Matthew Shepard era. Psychology, Public Policy, and Law. 19, 355-368.
Cramer, R.J., Miller, A.K., Amacker, A.M.., & Burks, A.C. (2013). Openness, Right-wing Authoritarianism, and Antigay Prejudice in College Students: A Mediation Model. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 60, 64-71.
Cramer, R.J., Gorter, E.L., Rodriguez, M.C, Clark, J.W., Rice. A.K, & Nobles, M. R. (2013). Blame Attribution in Court: Conceptualization and Measurement of Perpetrator Blame. Victims & Offenders, 8, 42-55.
Cramer, R.J., Garza, M.J., Henderson, C.E., Ribiero, J.D., Silva, C., Smith, A.R., Joiner, T.E., & White, J. (2012). A Trait-Interpersonal perspective on suicide risk in criminal offenders. Archives of Suicide Research, 16, 334-347.
Current Students (Thesis, Dissertation, and/or other contributors, with lab-related research interests):
Brittany Bate: suicide, offender reintegration, expert testimony
Claire Bryson: Severe mental illness, suicide and suicide risk assessment, psychological autopsy
Alix Burks: LGBT and gender issues, stigma, and offender issues
Caroline Chevalier: LGBT identity, victimization
Brett Gardner: Five-Factor Model of personality and the law, statistics
Tess Gemberling: sexual assault, sexual behavior, LGBT issues
Ernie Gonzalez, Jr.: diversity issues in jury decision making and offenders
Jennifer Johnson: expert testimony, locus of control, LGBT issues
Shara Johnson: suicide, physician assisted suicide
Kelsey Laxton: LGBT issues, jury decision making, public policy issues
Charlotte Pennington: suicide & psychopathy, interpersonal-psychological theory of suicide
Caroline Stroud: suicide, LGBT issues, expert testimony, need for affect, Five-Factor Model of personality
Jenna Tomei: LGBT issues, trial consulting, jury decision making
Hayley Wechsler: trial errors and false convictions, public policy, expert credibility
Amy Wevodau: Victim impact statements, need for affect
Representative Student First-Authored Publications:
Gardner, B.O., Titcomb, C., Cramer, R.J., Stroud, C.H., & Bate, B. (In Press). Perceived personality similarity and perceptions of expert testimony. Journal of Individual Differences.
Johnson, S.M., Cramer, R.J., Conroy, M.A., & Gardner, B.O. (In Press). Law, professional ethics, and competence in physician-assisted suicide. Death Studies.
Stroud, C.H., Cramer, R.J., & Miller, R.S. (In Press). A trait-affect model of understanding perceptions of expert witness testimony. Psychology, Psychiatry, and Law.
Wevodau, A.L., Wevodau, E.L., & Cramer, R.J. (In Press). A Social Science Perspective on Victims in the Courtroom: Recommendations for Trial Consultants. Criminal Law Bulletin.
Past and Present Collaborating Agencies and Groups:
Montgomery, Walker, & Dallas County Courts (TX)
National Coalition of Sexual Freedom (Baltimore, MD)
National Judicial College (Reno, NV)
San Francisco State University Psychology Department (San Francisco, CA)
Sam Houston State University Criminal Justice Department (Huntsville, TX)
University of California San Francisco Psychiatry and Trauma Recovery Center (San Francisco, CA)
University of North Dakota Psychology Department (Grand Forks, ND)
Westlake Trial Consulting (Austin, TX)
White & Associates Psychologists (Adelaide, Australia)
Witness Research Lab, University of Alabama (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about my work.
Office: CHSS 324
Lab: CHSS 328
Office phone: (936) 294-2435