Adam Dunbar: Race, crime and public opinion

Adam Dunbar


Race, Crime and Public Opinion


Adam Dunbar


Criminal Justice


Adam Dunbar is an assistant professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at the University of Nevada, Reno. He earned his B.A. in psychology and sociology from Stanford University and a Ph.D. in criminology, law and society from the University of California at Irvine. He researches the intersection of race and the criminal justice system, focusing specifically on how attitudes about race, culture, and crime can help explain racial disparities in policing and punishment. Additionally, he explores public opinion about criminal justice reform as well as obstacles to reform efforts. His work has been published in the Journal of Experimental Criminology, Justice Quarterly, Race and Justice, and Psychology, Public Policy, and Law.

Project overview

The research opportunities for students generally explore attitudes about crime and criminal justice reform, particularly related to the role race plays in each. Within this area of study, research activities with Professor Dunbar can be tailored to accommodate wide-ranging interests of students.

One possibility involves examining the range of cues used to racialize and criminalize individuals. In particular, this includes how perceptions of rap music and speech, respectively, are linked to race in ways that result in increased assessments of dangerousness. Another possibility is to evaluate public opinion about criminal justice reform, such as which reforms should be implemented and who is most deserving of those reforms.

The student chosen to collaborate on this project will be expected to conduct a literature review on related research, learn how to collect and analyze data, and help write a manuscript that will be submitted to a journal for publication.