Bos is a political psychologist who seeks to understand how stereotypes create barriers when women and minorities pursue political office. Part of this work examines how the ways U.S. political parties nominate candidates for office can exacerbate the chances that candidates are judged based on stereotypes. Her other work examines how portrayals and images of politics- in student textbooks, on social media, and in mass media coverage - influence citizen perceptions. Her current work explores when elementary or middle school girls become less interested in politics than boys – and what explains the emergence of such gender gaps.
In the News
Affirmative action policies adopted by state political party organizations for nominating candidates can hinder nomination of female candidates seeking statewide office. The policies have negative, unintended consequences for female candidates in that they promote gender stereotype activation and create a stigma of incompetence for female candidates.
Questions the assumption that stereotypes about female politicians are the same as stereotypes about women so that if we think women are weak, we will think female politicians are too. Finds the stereotypes of female politicians include fewer masculine and leadership qualities than male politicians and that they do not possess positive qualities that women are often assumed to have, like empathy and caring.
Examines the portrayals of women in introductory American politics textbooks and finds there is scant coverage of women – and that what exists ignores diversity among women, reinforces traditional gender roles, and rarely focuses on women as political actors.
Shows that high-definition television (HDTV) led citizens to perceived the older candidate John McCain more negatively in a 2008 presidential debate with Barack Obama
Gender stereotypes limit the potential for women to attain political party nominations for statewide office. Specifically, when statewide political party convention delegates receive candidate information from other delegates – as opposed to from the candidate or their campaigns – it confirms delegates’ stereotype expectations, which negatively relates to supporting her nomination.