Chapter 4 - Independent Questions
I. Physical Changes
A. The Brain and Nervous System
1. (a) Is the reproductive system fully developed at birth?
(b) Although the brain and nervous system are NOT fully developed at birth, some structures
of the brain are fully developed. Identify these structures and their functions as well as the
part of the brain that is not fully developed and its functions.
(c) Review Figure 4.1 (p. 101) so that you have a spatial understanding of where the
subcortex is located (purple areas) and where the cortex is located (pink area).
2. Define (a) synaptogenesis, (b) synaptic pruning, (c) neuroplasticity (Note: Your textbook
sometimes refers to neuroplasticity as simply ‘plasticity’ at times), and (d) myelinization.
3. (a) Summarize all the information presented in the first two paragraphs under the subsection
entitled: “Synaptic Development” which elaborates on the process of synaptogenesis and
(b) In the third paragraph, your textbook states that after each cycle of synaptogenesis and
synaptic pruning, the brain becomes more efficient (p. 101). Your textbook states that this
efficiency comes at a cost. Identify and define ‘the cost’ or neuroplasticity.
(c) The fourth, fifth, and sixth paragraphs state three implications about the cyclical pattern of
human brain development (i.e., synaptogenesis then synaptic pruning). Identify, describe, and
note research (if provided) about these three implications of the cyclical
synaptogenesis/synaptic pruning pattern of human brain development.
4. Although synaptic pruning is influenced by whether or not our synapses are considered
necessary/useful, what influences which neural pathways are myelinized first?
5. What brain structure is associated with the skill of attention? (Note: Attention is a concept of
the information-processing theory thus inadequate skill in attention during infancy is
attributed to minimal development of the brain structure you identified. In later chapters, we
will discover additional brain structures associated with the skill of attention.)
B. Reflexes and Behavioural States
Reflexes (I will expand on this section in the chapter 4 lecture)
6. (a) Compare the purpose of adaptive reflexes to the purpose of primitive reflexes.
(b) Identify Philip Zelazo’s research finding about the stepping reflex, which suggests
stimulating adaptive reflexes may facilitate an earlier onset of motor gain for infants.
7. (a) How does Bronfenbrenner’s macrosystem context influence the way parents respond to
their infants’ sleep patterns/problems?
(b) You hear a mother give her daughter some parenting advice: “Don’t pick up your crying
baby too quickly as it is good to let your baby cry a little first” (perhaps the mother believes
you’ll reinforce your baby’s crying). Does research support this mother’s advice?
C. Developing Body Systems and Motor Skills 8. How do changes in infants’ bones, muscles and lungs/heart contribute to their motor and
manipulative (grasping) skills? (See the sub-headings “Bones”, “Muscles”, and “Lungs and
9. (a) Refer to the sub-heading “Motor Skills” and define the three groups of motor skills: (1)
locomotor skills, (2) nonlocomotor skills, and (3) manipulative skills.
(b) Read the information about infant’s ability to reach for objects with their feet and
determine where this skill would be incorporated in Table 4.2.
(c) You need to know all of the motor sequences/patterns presented in Table 4.2. For instance,
you need to know what skill comes after what or the sequence in each of the three columns
(you don’t need to know the exact age ra