Chapter 4 - Independent Questions
I. Physical Changes
A. The Brain and Nervous System
1. (a) Is the reproductive system fully formed at birth?
It is completely formed at birth, but doesn’t grow until puberty
(b)What brain structures are the most developed at birth? Identify the functions of these
Midbrain and medulla; both in the lower part of the skill and connected to the spinal cord.
Regulates vital functions such as heartbeat, respiration, attention, sleeping, waking, elimination
and movement of head and neck.
(c) What part of the brain is the least developed at birth? Identify the functions of this
the cortex; the convoluted grey matter that wraps around the midbrain and is involved in
perception, body movement, thinking and language
i. Synaptic Development (See Chapter 3/4 Lecture Template)
2. Although synaptic pruning is influenced by whether or not our synapses are considered
necessary or useful (i.e., whether the synapse is regularly stimulated), what influences which
neural pathways are myelinized first?
the sequence of myelination follows both cephalocaudal and proximodistal patterns.
Eg. nerves serving muscle cells in the neck and should are myelinized earlier than those serving
3. (a) What brain structure primarily
regulates the skill of attention?
(b) When does myelination of the reticular formation begin and when is it complete?
Begins in infancy but continues in spurts across childhood and adolescence. Process is not
complete until a person is in mid-20s.
B. Reflexes and Behavioural States
i. Reflexes (I will expand on this section in the chapter 3/4 lecture template)
4. (a)What adaptive reflexes persist across the lifespan
Withdrawal from a painful stimulus and the opening and closing of the pupil of the eye in
response to variations in brightness.
(b) What area of the brain controls primitive reflexes?
Medulla and Midbrain (the less sophisticated parts of the brain)
(c) Summarize Philip Zelazo’s research finding about the stepping reflex.
Infants who were encouraged to exercise the stepping reflex were more likely to spontaneously
display the stepping movements and begin walking at an earlier age. (d) When do primitive reflexes typically disappear in a neurologically healthy infant?
By 6 to 8 months of age. If reflexes persist past this age, baby may have some sort of
ii. Behavioural States
5. (a) How does Bronfenbrenner’s macrosystem context influence the way North American
and European parents respond to their infants’ sleep patterns/problems?
American: see a newborn’s erratic sleep cycle as a behavior problem that requires “fixing”
through parental intervention.
European: regard newborns’ patterns of sleeping as manifestation of normal development and
tend to expect babies to acquire stable sleeping patterns naturally, without parental intervention
(b) You hear a mother give her daughter some parenting advice: “Don’t pick up your crying
baby too quickly because it is good to let your baby cry a little first”. Does research support
this mother’s parenting advice? Explain.
No, research suggests that prompt attention to a crying baby in the first 3 months will lead to less
crying later in infancy. Also, most babies stop crying when they are picked up, held, and talked
C. Developing Body Systems and Motor Skills
6. What must happen to infants’ bones to enable them to perform coordinated movements
such as grasping an object (i.e, manipulative skills)?
Changes in the number and density of bones coordinated movements
Progressive separation of the wrist bones manipulative skills
Bone hardening: ossification motor development
ii. Muscles (Optional reading: Not on the exams)
iii. Lungs and Heart
7. How do changes in infants’ lungs and hearts contribute to advances in their motor skills?
Lungs become more efficient and with the increasing strength of heart muscles, it gives a 2 year
old greater stamina and ability to maintain activity.
iv. Motor Skills
8. (a) Define the three groups of motor skills: (1) locomotor skills, (2) nonlocomotor skills, and
(3) manipulative skills.
locomotor skills (gross motor skills): abilities to crawl, which enables the infant to get around in
nonlocomotor skills: controlling head movements, which improves babies’ ability to use their
sense and motor skills to interact with the objects and people around them
manipulative skills (fine motor skills) : use of hands (eg. stacking blocks)
(b) You need to know the developmental sequence of locomotor, nonlocomotor and
manipulative skills presented in Table 4.2. For instance, you need to know what skill comes
first, then what skill, then what, and so on. (See sample multiple-choice question below)
(c) James Galloway and Ester Thelen (2004) found an exception to the typical ce