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Intellectual Development in Infants

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1 Intellectual Development in Infants
Chapter 9 Intellectual Development in Infants

2 Chapter Objectives Describe how a baby’s experiences increase brain function Explain how the brain becomes organized List four abilities that show intellectual growth in infants Identify specific abilities that babies learn during Piaget’s first period of learning Name five ways caregivers can encourage learning Discuss how to choose toys appropriate for babies of different ages

3 Chapter 9.1 Early Brain Development

4 The Structure of the Brain
A neuron is a nerve cell Links between these neurons are formed immediately Neural pathways are the links that develop between neurons The pathways “wire” the brain so it can control different body functions and thinking processes Created quickly Maximum number of links is reached by age 10

5 Parts of the Brain Each section controls a specific function or job of the body One of the most important parts : Cortex Part of the brains cerebellum and its growth permits complex learning As babies experience more input from the world, they brains respond by making more connections As caregivers hold, play, and talk to an infant, the baby actually uses these experiences to build the brains capacity

6 Parts of the Brain: Cerebrum
Receives information from senses and motor activities Controls speech, memory, and problem solving Most activities occur in the outer layer Cerebral cortex (cortex)

7 Parts of the Brain: Pituitary Gland
Secretes hormones that control Growth Metabolism Sexual Development

8 Parts of the Brain: Brain Stem
Controls Involuntary activities Breathing Heart rate Blood pressure

9 Parts of the Brain: Spinal Cord
Transmits information from the body to the brain and vise versa Controls simple reflexes that do not involve the brain

10 Parts of the Brain: Cerebellum
Controls Muscular coordination Balance Posture

11 Parts of the Brain: Thalamus
Relays sensory information from other parts of the brain to the cerebral cortex

12 How the Brain Works Neurons are connected by axons
An axon is the connection between neurons that transmits instructions from the cell body to another neuron Axons are coated with a fatty substance called myelin Myelin helps transmit messages Dendrites branch out each axon to receive the electrical messages

13 How the Brain Works Dendrites and axons do not touch
A synapse is the tiny gap between the dendrites where messages are transmitted Neurotransmitter is a chemical released by the axon Chemicals look for a dendrite to attach to but they can only attach to specific receptors

14 Developing the Brain More pathways give the brain more power
Gives the brain more flexibility The increase connection is the direct result of sensory input The more the baby interacts with the world, the more complex the brain’s “writing” becomes

15 How the Brain is Organized
Organization is based on the particular experiences unique to that child As connections between dendrites and axons grow stronger, neurons link together They become systems of nerve cells that control certain groups Systems of neurons work together to influence how babies see, hear, think, and remember This is how learning takes place Humans learn new behaviors all their life

16 How the Brain is Organized
Connections between neurons are not permanent They can be broken when not used often This is called pruning At the same time connections are being lost, new ones are being made This is called branching The branching and pruning process helps the brain focus on useful connections and then acquire more skills

17 Stimulating Infant Brain Development
Keep it simple and natural Match experiences to child’s abilities Practice makes perfect Actively involve the baby Provide variety but avoid overload Avoid pushing the child

18 Speeding the Brain’s Work
When a baby is born only those nerves that control basic instincts, like nursing, have myelin coating Other axons get a coating of myelin as they child grows Process continues until age 20 Myelin is added at different times to different areas Which axon receives the fatty myelin may explain why some children have difficulty learning certain tasks Myelin is crucial to the speed in which nerves function Multiple sclerosis is a disease in which the absence of myelin plays a role

19 Chapter 9.2 Intellectual Development During the First Year

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