World takes note of York study on gay men’s brains

A new study by York University researchers has shown that gay men can recall familiar faces faster and more accurately than their heterosexual counterparts because, like women, they use both sides of their brains, wrote the Times of India Online and June 23.

The study examined the influence of gender, sexual orientation and whether we’re right- or  left-handed on our ability to recognize faces. It found that when memorizing and discriminating between faces, homosexual men show patterns of bilaterality – the usage of both sides of the brain – similar to heterosexual women. Heterosexual men tend to favour the right hemisphere for such tasks.

Jennifer Steeves, psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Health, and her colleagues also investigated the influence of hand dominance on such tasks. They found that left-handed heterosexual participants had better face recognition abilities than left-handed homosexuals, and also outperformed right-handed heterosexuals. “Our findings are consistent with what we know about the organization and laterality of how we process faces depending on our gender, sexual orientation and handedness,” Steeves says.

  • Gay men are on a par with women when it comes to never forgetting a face, according to a study, reported Metro UK June 22. Homosexual men show patterns of bilaterality – using both sides of the brain – similar to heterosexual women.

"Our results suggest that both gay men and heterosexual women code faces bilaterally. That allows for faster retrieval of stored information," said study lead author Jennifer Steeves, at Toronto’s York University.

  •  Stories on the research also appeared in Sun Media newspapers and June 22.

ROM kicks off busy time for art world

Between now and Labour Day, Toronto’s cultural insiders will also be abuzz about other major deals, wrote Martin Knelman in the Toronto Star June 23 in a story about the new CEO of the Royal Ontario Museum.

There will be startling news about Garth Drabinsky, currently out on bail pending the appeal of his fraud conviction in connection with the 1998 collapse of Livent, the theatre empire he created. Tennis Canada is in the process of making a deal that would result in Drabinsky programming rock concerts at the Rexall Centre on the campus of York University.

Meanwhile, the transition of the Rexall Centre into a concert venue might seem odd, but Michael Downey, CEO of Tennis Canada, confirms he is negotiating with Kevin Albrecht, whose company iSport Media and Management would program rock acts. According to Downey, Drabinsky would be a consultant to iSport, making the deals for the rock acts.

Sources say the artists would be provided by Live Nation, the granddaddy of the rock concert business (which has its headquarters in Beverly Hills, California). But Riley O’Connor, CEO for Live Nation’s Canadian operation, says he knows nothing about it and dismisses the Rexall Centre as “a great venue for tennis.”

Protesters plan to greet McGuinty at Glendon

The Ontario government is taking “a careful look” at merging Ontario’s electricity, liquor and gambling businesses into a private-public SuperCorp, wrote the Toronto Star June 23, quoting Premier Dalton McGuinty.

Unionized employees of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, Ontario Power Generation, and Hydro One, meanwhile, are planning a demonstration Wednesday morning as McGuinty’s cabinet holds a summer retreat at York University’s Glendon College.

CFS to launch national higher-ed magazine

At their semi-annual meeting in May, the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS) passed a motion to create their own national magazine focusing on post-secondary issues, wrote June 22.

The CFS magazine will focus on “trends and changes to educational policies, issues and events that have a national scope and other issues that are of importance to the college and university system,” reports the Canadian University Press newswire.

The motion to create the magazine was initially drafted by the York Federation of Students (YFS). According to YFS president Krisna Saravanamuttu, the publication will “focus on issues that are happening across the country in a way that mainstream media doesn’t reflect.”

Theatre grad performs at Dream in High Park event

Thespian Christine Horne (BFA Spec. Hons. ’04) plays Juliet to Jeff Irving’s Romeo in the Canadian Stage TD Dream in High Park production of Shakespeare’s timeless tale of star-crossed lovers, officially opening Tuesday, June 29, wrote the Bloor West Villager June 22.

At 28, Horne is twice the age of her character, Juliet. To prepare for the role, she said she’s been trying to get in touch with her 14-year-old self.

Horne went to York University to pursue a theatre degree. Graduating in 2004, she says she’s been acting out in the real world for six years. Acting is something she secretly wanted to get into, but being from Aurora – “the suburbs” – she didn’t really know how to go about it. “I saw that York had a theatre program and applied on a whim. I auditioned without even telling anyone,” recalled Horne.

Lady Vees glad to get former Lions player

Lady Vees head coach Roberto Gallo and the women’s soccer program at Laurentian University announced Long Sault native Sarah Snyder and Brampton native Amy Pitton will join the blue and gold for the 2010-2011 season, wrote The Sudbury Star June 23.

Pitton is a transfer from York University and in her first season with the Lions she started each game as a centre back. She was an important piece of the team’s success, as they came first in Ontario and second at national losing 2-0 against the host team, Cape Breton, in 2007.

“Amy is a tough, physical defender who brings a lot of leadership qualities to our team,” Gallo said. “Her up-tempo and tenacious defending style will really fit in nicely into our system next season. She’s coming from a great program at York and I think her experience will help us tremendously.”

On air

  • Ron Atkey, lawyer and adjunct professor of national security law in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke about who has security jurisdiction at the G8 and G20 summits, on CBC Radio’s “The Current” June 22.
  • Ananya Mukherjee-Reed, political science professor in York’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, took part in a panel discussion on the status and responsibilities of the leaders of G20 countries and the emerging powers, on TVO’s “The Agenda” June 22.
  • Edward Fenner (BA Hons. ’10), Web communications and publications assistant in York’s Office of the Associate Vice-President International, discussed winning the Murray G. Ross Award, graduating as a mature student and his many volunteer efforts, on Rogers Cable TV June 22.