Anxiety can lead to radical religious beliefs, study finds

Anxiety can lead people to become more radical in their religious beliefs, a York University study says, wrote the Owen Sound Sun Times and The Peterborough Examiner July 7.

Researchers put more than 600 participants in anxiety-provoking or neutral situations and asked them to describe their personal goals and rate their degree of conviction for their religious ideals.

Lead researcher Ian McGregor, a psychology professor in York’s Faculty of Health, said a basic motivational process called reactive approach motivation (RAM) is responsible. “Approach motivation is a tenacious state in which people become ‘locked and loaded’ on whatever goal or ideal they are promoting. They feel powerful, and thoughts and feelings related to other issues recede,” he said in a release.

Mariposa goes digital

For years, the Mariposa Folk Festival’s rich history was stored away in more than 350 boxes in the basement of a Toronto art collective on Queen Street, wrote he Orillia Packet & Times July 7.

With no funding to care for the archives, the Mariposa Folk Foundation sent out requests to find an institution that could take on the challenge, festival president Chris Lusty said Tuesday.

The Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections at York University acquired the materials in 2007.

On Monday, York launched Mariposa: celebrating Canadian folk music, an online-digitalized archive, said Anna St. Onge, archivist, digital projects and outreach.

The project was funded through a Canadian Heritage grant.

York is also attempting to get permission for a recording of American folk singer Pete Seeger playing with blues musicians from Mississippi, activists from the Great Lakes and Cree elders from the James Bay region.

Perfectionists at risk for postpartum depression

New mothers who think they should be perfect parents might be at risk for postpartum depression, a new study suggests, wrote

The results show that a type of perfectionism in which individuals feel others expect them to be perfect, known as “socially prescribed perfectionism”, is associated with postpartum depression for first-time mothers. “What this suggests is that there might be some new mothers out there who might seem like everything is fine, in fact it might seem like everything is perfect,” said Gordon Flett, a professor of psychology in York’s Faculty of Health.

Concessions in the cards for Vale workers, says York prof

Company and union officials are remaining tight-lipped on the details, but it’s likely striking Vale workers in Sudbury will be asked to approve some concessions when they begin voting on a tentative agreement Wednesday, wrote The Canadian Press July 6.

The global recession, concerns about government debt and a slower-than-expected recovery have made it “very difficult for unions to defend the gains that they’ve made historically,” said Stephanie Ross, a professor and coordinator of the Work & Labour Studies Program in York University’s Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

She pointed out that Vale’s workers are going to want to feel like it was worth spending a year on strike, so they won’t want to give up too much. However, financial gains may not be all Vale was after, she added. “They were aiming at resetting the power relationship between themselves and the union. It’s not primarily or only about the money. It’s about who has the balance of power to determine what goes on in the workplace,” Ross said.

Not just the bee’s knees

A 98-year-old Prince George man was bestowed a unique honour Tuesday by a BC researcher, wrote The Prince George Citizen July 7.

George Dashwood Sr., a resident at Simon Fraser Lodge, is now the namesake of the rare Lasioglossum dashwoodi bee species in BC, said Lincoln Best, one of several researchers who first found this bee in the Okanagan in 2008.

Best, a student of Professor Laurence Packer of York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, said the greatest concern of researchers today is the steady loss of bees.

“A lot have been dying due to pesticides and disease. The western bumblebee – the bigger yellow, black and white fuzzy bee found in Prince George gardens – is greatly endangered and disappearing quickly. They are already gone from the western United States,” said Best. “We’re not exactly sure why, but we suspect they are dying off due to disease introduced through other bumblebees used for greenhouse pollination.”

Docuseries looks at belief in mythical creatures

This is the time of year when young ’uns and oldsters alike gather around the campfire and swap ghost stories – “Bloody bones behind the barn!” – and other tall tales, wrote Canwest News Service July 7. The mythological creatures of the subconscious have a literature all their own. And yet, as the engaging and timely docuseries “Beast Legends” reminds us, in some cultures around the world, mythical beings are not just imaginary, but are believed to exist.

“Beast Legends”, a kind of “Ghost Hunters” for the Beowulf set, follows an eclectic group of experts in their field to far-flung corners of the earth, from the rain-soaked jungles of Vietnam to the mountains of Mongolia.

The experts include York University anthropologist Kathryn Denning, a professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies.

Reviewer calls overly earnest play ‘languid’

Games, actual and figurative, are the theme of this well-intentioned but sadly facile look at the lives of three devoted sisters, wrote the Toronto Star July 7 in a review of the dance performance Life Games.

We see them first as youngsters, innocently cavorting in, playing rhythmic clapping games, tossing clothes hither and thither, and affectionately teasing each other. From this saccharine sentimentality they progress with minimal costume changes to adulthood and seemingly grow apart, ultimately living in self-absorbed, blindfolded isolation.

Life Games is the first project of performers Emma Letki and Hannah Greyson-Gaito, both current York University Dance Department students and co-founder/directors of Ten Toes, a little troupe that ambitiously, so they proclaim, wants to make “a dance performance that anyone can see and relate to.” Their sorority is completed by York dance graduate Julie McLachlan (BFA Spec. Hons. ’10) – the three share choreographic credits – and would be far more compelling if they shed the earnestness and focused on what holds an audience’s attention. The 40-minute show’s pacing is often languid, Jason Doell’s sound score unhelpful and the subject, promising in itself, surface-scratched at best. And out of three sisters wouldn’t you expect at least one to get romantically involved? These sisters are apparently chaste, not chased.

On air

  • Alan Middleton, marketing professor in the Schulich School of Business at York University, spoke about an upcoming taping of the “Live with Regis & Kelly” show in Charlottetown, PEI, on CBC Radio Charlottetown, July 6.
  • James Morton, adjunct professor in York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, spoke about police efforts to control security at the G20 summit, on CBC Radio’s “The Current” July 6. Morton was also featured on Toronto’s AM640 Radio July 6.