For our first study, 214 undergraduate students were divided into four conditions. Half heard recordings of the original Massachusetts jury instructions, while the other half heard instructions rewritten by our team into Plain English. Each of the two groups was then split into half again, one group receiving listening-only instructions and the other half receiving listening and reading instructions, where they could follow along in the texts. The subjects were then asked true/false questions about the jury instructions they had heard.
In addition to this, the team has begun using computational tools to analyze jury instructions. Right now we have only looked at the correlation between word frequency and comprehension, but we hope this avenue of research will produce many insightful results.