Date of Award

January 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Andre Kehn


The race salience effect of juror decision making states that White jurors will display bias favoring White defendants over Black defendants only when race is not a prominent aspect of the crime or trial. Although past research has established this effect under certain conditions, a broader investigation of the effect is currently lacking in the literature. Furthermore, the literature has largely ignored the role that jury deliberation may have in attenuating or exacerbating the race salience effect. In total, 357 White mock jurors participated in a simulated court case about an interracial bar fight in which race was made salient either through attorney statements (Experiment 1, N = 207) or through pretrial publicity (Experiment 2, N = 150); participants in Experiment 1 also convened as a jury and deliberated the case. In both experiments, a race salience effect was found for verdict preference, but not for any other trial outcome. In addition, the effect identified was in the opposite direction to that expected based on previous research, as results showed an outgroup favoritism effect in race salient conditions. Experiment 1 also found no race salience effects following jury deliberation, indicating that no new effects were created through deliberation and any that existed prior to deliberation were eliminated. Implications of these findings for the race salience literature and the juror decision making literature are discussed along with implications for actual court cases.