Human Development-Chapter 9, Intellectual Development of Infants
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT I
INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT IN INFANTS
AND FCS STANDARDS
• Learning Objectives: Students will understand
the basic anatomy of the brain and examine
how the brain changes when a child is learning.
Students will also identify key concepts and
milestones that babies are learning in the first
year and how Piaget’s theories apply to this
learning. Finally students will consider how to
encourage a child’s learning.
• FCS Standards: 4.B, 06-12.5.1, 5.A, 5.B, 5.C
BRAIN GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
• At birth, the brain is one-fourth
its adult weight.
• At six months, the brain has
grown to half its adult weight.
• At age two, the brain is threefourths adult size and weight.
• Females have a physically
smaller brain, but 11% more
neurons than males.
The brain is made up of nerve cells called neurons, the majority of which were
present at birth.
Neurons located in the various lobes or segments of the brain are task
specific. This means certain neurons located in certain areas of the brain are
responsible for specific tasks.
Neurons are hooked together with
varying numbers and kinds of
connections called synapses (a
neuron and it’s synapses are shown
The number of connections results
from inherited growth patterns first,
and then environmental stimuli and
New learning exercises the brain,
causing the blood supply to increase,
and leading to a greater supply of
oxygen to the brain.
in the brain
The number of connections, or synapses,
determine a person’s capacity to learn.
The more synapses, the greater the capacity
HOW BABIES START TO LEARN.
4 Abilities that show growing intellectual ability.
1. Remembering Experiences- A 2-3 month old may stop
crying when a caregiver enters the room.
2. Making Associations-Associating a caregiver with receiving
3. Understanding Cause and Effect-If the baby stops sucking,
4. Paying attention-Attention span: the length of time a
person can concentrate on a task without getting boredgrows longer.
• Complete the worksheet
• What specific activities could you suggest to
parents to help babies reach the milestones?
• Pick one milestone from each two-month time
• Intellectual development follows a pattern.
• The four periods of learning appear in the same order in all
• Children must learn to master one thinking skill before they
can move on to another.
• Children can’t be forced to understand a skill any faster than
the speed at which their abilities mature.
• When children don’t get the chance to apply new skills during
each stage, they may never reach their full potential.
Constant learning opportunities are important.
PIAGET’S FOUR PERIODS OF LEARNING
• Sensorimotor (birth-2 years) Children learn through
their senses and own actions.
• Preoperational (2-7 years) Children think in terms of
their own activities and what they perceive at the
• Concrete Operations (7-11 years) Children think
logically, but still learn best through experiences.
• Formal Operations (11-Adult) People are capable
of abstract thinking.
SIX STAGES OF SENSORIMOTOR STAGE
• Stage 1 (birth-1 month)-Practicing reflexes. Does not understand self as
a separate person.
• Stage 2 (1-4 months)-Combines 2 or more reflexes. Develops handmouth coordination.
• Stage 3 (4-8 months)-Acts intentionally to produce results. Improves
• Stage 4 (8-12 months)-Begins to solve problems. Finds partially hidden
objects. Imitates others.
• Stage 5 (12-18 months)-Finds hidden objects. Explores and experiments.
Understands that objects exist independently.
• Stage 6 (18-24 months)-Solves problems by thinking through sequences.
Can think using symbols. Begins imaginative thinking.
MORE ON THE SENSORIMOTOR PERIOD
• One of Piaget’s important findings…
• At about 10 months of age babies understand
object permanence: objects continue to exist,
even when they are out of sight.
• Object Permanence Video
MORE LEARNING TO COME
• Between the ages of 1-3 years, children begin to
form concepts: general categories of objects and
• Concepts range from categories for objects such as “fruit”
to qualities such as color or shape.
• Children start by thinking that labels are for whole objects,
not parts. (may call a “tire” a “car”)
• Children believe that labels apply to the group to which
the individual objects belong, not to the particular object.
(any four-legged animal might be a “dog”)
• Children tend to believe that an object can only have one
label. (don’t understand “Mommy” can be “she”
WAYS TO ENCOURAGE
A CHILD’S LEARNING
• Learn about child development-When you understand what
to expect at certain ages, you know what toys and learning
• Age Appropriate: things that are suitable for the age and
individual needs of a child.
• Give kids your time and attention.
• Provide positive feedback.
• Express love.
• Talk, talk, talk
• Provide safe learning
• Communication takes development in all areasphysical, emotional, social, and intellectual.
• Babies first communicate with cries. Different cries
mean different things. They will often wait for a
response when crying.
• By the end of the first year, babies can
communicate quite well, using mostly gestures.
• What are some gestures babies use to
LEARNING TO SPEAK
• Before being able to talk, a baby must learn to
associate meanings with words, which is a gradual
• Talking to baby using simple words, but not baby
talk, prepares them for speech development.
• Speech starts as babbling and continues to mature
until they are possibly speaking simple words by the
end of the first year.
• Children vary in the rate at which they develop
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