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Infants Intellectual
& Learning
Chapter 9
Study of the Brain
• We are born with all of the neurons we will have!
-Neurons are nerve cells in the brain.
• Babies’ intellectual skills grow faster in the first
year than any other time.
• How the brain develops in a baby’s first year of life
has profound effects on the baby’s whole life.
• Babies’ increased brain function is tied to the
quantity and quality of stimulating experiences
that a baby has.
How It Works…
• At birth, the brain has billions of nerve cells called
• In response to experiences, the brain immediately
begin to develop “links” between these neurons.
– For example: as caregivers hold, play with and talk to an
infant, the baby uses these experiences to develop more
• These “links” wire the brain so that it can control
different body functions and thinking processes.
– For example: 4 day old babies can distinguish between their
parents’ voices and other voices due to the linkages in the
brain that the baby formed in the first few days.
Learning in the First Year
A baby’s brain is fed by what it experiences
through the perception.
Perception= learning through sensory
Jean Piaget’s sensorimotor period (birth- 2)
– Infants learn through their SENSES and their OWN
Sensory Play
Intellectual Abilities in the First Year
(Develop these to show their growing intellectual abilities)
• Remembering experiences.
– May stop crying when someone comes in because they know
they will be picked up
• Making associations
– Baby associates a caregiver with comfort
• Understanding cause and effect
– Sucking causes milk to flow
• Paying attention or attention span
– The length of time a person can concentrate on a
task without getting bored grows longer
• Object Permanence – 10 months they
are able to know an object still exists
even if it is not seen
• Part of Sensorimotor period
Concept Development
Concept development =
the ability to organize information received from
your senses.
Learned through 3 principles:
1. Children begin by thinking labels are for whole
objects and not just parts.
 Example: when a child’s parent points to a dog, the child associates
the label with the entire animal and not just his nose or ears
Concepts continued…
2. Children believe that labels apply to the group
to which objects belong.
Example: Child thinks any four legged animal is a “dog.”
3. Children tend to believe that an object only
has one label.
Example: “dog” is only one size, shape, and color. Not different breeds.
Developing Communication
• Babies communicate long before they can
– Develop different cries for different problems
– Send messages with movements & gestures
– Makes special sounds: giggles & cooing
• Before learning to speak, infants must learn to
associate meanings with words!
– Caregivers must talk to infant to help them learn
• Use simple words and speak clearly
• Avoid “baby talk”
• Babies get ready for speech by babbling
(repeating syllables & sounds). Ex: “babababa”
Importance of play
Play=Intellectual development
Toys are the tools for learning and strengthens their
muscles, refines motor skills, and learn about the
Age Appropriate Toys
Birth to 3 months:
Bright colors, moving
objects, & interesting
Mobile above the
crib, bright colored
tummy mat, and
Age Appropriate Toys
4 - 6 months
Sense of touch is
especially important.
Touch, handle, bang,
shake, suck, and chew
Teething rings, cups,
rattles, stuffed
animals, & toys that
make noise.
Toys with different
Age Appropriate Toys
7 - 9 months
Toys that provide
opportunities to
pound, shake, rattle,
and roll.
Anything that makes
Blocks, balls, and safe
household items.
Age Appropriate Toys
10 - 12 months
Toys to crawl after
Toys they can push and pull
Things they can manipulate
Dump and fill boxes and
Picture books
Apply What You Learned...
PART ONE: Summarize your notes in (3)
PART TWO: On Page 286, identify the
(6) different tips to stimulate brain
development in an infant.
For each tip given, provide (2) examples
on how you can specifically do that
with an infant.