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.
Legal Perspectives: 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-eligible samples across Texas and across the country, as well as predictors of support for LGBT-related legislation in general, with particular interests in the need for affect and other emotional characteristics. Future work will continue emotional theory tests in this context, as well as the development of an attitudes toward hate crimes scale.
Health Perspectives: 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, as well as contemporary methods of measuring sexual orientation identity. The project also focuses on identification of sexual minority-specific risk and protective factors for future assessment and intervention. Currently in grant application and data planning phases is follow-up work to Project Legacy addressing sexual behavior, mental health, and violence proneness impacts of sexual assault, hate crime and stalking victimization.
2. Suicide: This domain of my work broadly addresses two issues: Testing risk prediction models of suicide proneness in vulnerable populations, and training mental health professionals in suicide risk assessment and management competencies. Current emphases in suicide risk models focuses on integration of personality, internalized prejudice, and/or the Interpersonal Theory of Suicide in multiple samples. Currently in planning is a multi-site study to examine the need for affect with trait and interpersonal characteristics as predictors of suicide proneness over time. I also address clinician-related topics such as beliefs about suicide and addressing the need for training in suicide risk assessment. Immediate directions include a multi-site study evaluating the impact of classroom- and workshop-based methods of training.
3. Witness Testimony/Trial Consultation: This line of research examines mechanisms associated with the credibility and effectiveness of witness testimony. Prior research focused 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, qualitative studies testing theories of jury deliberation, and evaluation of self-efficacy based models of witness preparation.
***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).***A few doctoral students currently participate in extern trial consulting placements. Although these are not regularly established training sites for the department, I expect applied trial consulting experience to continue for interested students.
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., Stroud, C.H., Fraser, T., & Graham, J. (In Press). A Trait-Interpersonal Analysis of Suicide Proneness among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual Community Members. Suicide & Life Threatening Behavior.
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., Nobles, M.R., Amacker, A.M., & Dovoedo, L.F. (2013). Defining and Evaluating Perceptions of Victim Blame in Antigay Hate Crimes. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 28, 2894-2914.
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, trial consulting
Alix Burks: LGBT and gender issues, stigma, and offender issues
Claire Bryson: Suicide risk models, psychological autopsy
MolliMichelle Cabledue: Hate crimes, LGBT issues
Brett Gardner: Five-Factor Model of personality and the law, statistics
Tess Gemberling: sexual assault, sexual behavior, LGBT issues
Jennifer Johnson: expert testimony, locus of control, LGBT issues
Kelsey Laxton: LGBT issues, jury decision making, public policy issues, trial consulting
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
Amanda Amacker, Ph.D.: Bureau of Prisons
Shara Johnson, Ph.D.: Bureau of Prisons
Representative Student First-Authored Publications:
Gardner, B.O., Titcomb, C., Cramer, R.J., Stroud, C.H., & Bate, B. (2013). Perceived personality similarity and perceptions of expert testimony. Journal of Individual Differences, 34, 185-192.
Wevodau, A.L., Cramer, R.J., Clark, J.W., & Kehn, A. (2014). The Role of Emotion and Cognition in Juror Perceptions of Victim Impact Statements. Social Justice Research, 27, 45-66.
Gemberling, T.M., & Cramer, R.J. (In Press). Expert Testimony on Sensitive Myth-Ridden Topics: Ethics and Recommendations for Psychological Professionals. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice.
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.
Wechsler, H.J., Kehn, A., Wise, R.A., & Cramer, R.J. (In Press). Attorney Beliefs Concerning Scientific Evidence and Expert Witness Credibility. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry
Wevodau, A.L., Cramer, R.J., Kehn, A., & Clark, J.W. (In Press). Why the impact?: Negative affective change as a mediator of the effects of victim impact statements. Journal of Interpersonal Violence
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:
Brewer Porch Children’s Center (Tuscaloosa, AL)
Courtroom Sciences, Inc. (Dallas, TX)
Legacy Community Health Services (Houston, TX)
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)
Thomas Street Health Center (Houston, TX)
University of California San Francisco Psychiatry and Trauma Recovery Center (San Francisco, CA)
University of Alabama Counseling Center (Tuscaloosa, AL)
University of North Dakota Psychology Department (Grand Forks, ND)
Veritas Research (Houston, TX)
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 email@example.com for more information about my work.
Office: CHSS 324
Lab: CHSS 328
Office phone: (936) 294-2435