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Updated May 6, 2013 - 8:33 am

Psychologists call Arias trial escape from reality

PHOENIX -- Valley psychologists say people in the United States and other countries are using the Jodi Arias trial as a diversion from their daily lives.

People all over the country are fixated on the trial.

"It could feed into our arousal level," said psychologist Sanford Silverman. "We're getting kind of like an adrenaline rush from the excitement of all of it."

Psychologist Neil Stafford agrees that for many, the trial is an escape from their personal reality.

"A lot of our lives are pretty routine, and here's something sensational that's happened," said Stafford. "Definitely when it's about violent crime or sex, it's exciting to watch, initially."

Some people have come from other areas of the country and even as far away as Australia to try to get a seat in the courtroom to see the trial in person. Millions of others have been watching on television.

Silverman thinks we may see more of that behavior in future trials.

"We have more access to information," Silverman said. "We do overreact to things. With all of the different channels of information, we get the cognitive overload. It just stirs us up."

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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