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In two frequently cited articles, Sommers and Ellsworth (2000, 2001) concluded that the influence of a defendant’s race on White mock jurors is more pronounced in interracial trials in which race remains a silent background issue than in trials involving racially charged incidents. Referring to this variable more generally as "race salience," we predicted that any aspect of a trial that leads White mock jurors to be concerned about racial bias should render the race of a defendant less influential. Though subsequent researchers have further explored this idea of "race salience," they have manipulated it in the same way as in these original studies. As such, the scope of the extant literature on "race salience" and juror bias is narrower than many realize. The present article seeks to clarify this and other misconceptions regarding "race salience" and jury decision-making, identifying in the process avenues for future research on the biasing influence of defendant race.


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