Quiz: How Well Do You Know Your Child’s Brain

From Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang’s book Welcome to Your Child’s Brain: How the Mind Grows from Conception to College, published by Bloomsbury. They were on Please Explain: Children's Brains on Friday, October 14, and we invited them back for Please Explain: The Teenage Brain, Friday, December 2.


 1) Which of the following is a good way to get your child to eat his spinach?

            a. Cover the spinach with melted cheese

            b. Start the meal with a few bites of dessert

            c. Feed him with soy-based formula as an infant

            d. All of the above

            e. None of the above


2) Which action by a pregnant woman poses the greatest risk to her baby?

            a. Drinking a beer one evening

            b. Fleeing from a hurricane

            c. Eating sushi for dinner

            d. Flying in an airplane

            e. Walking three miles


3) What fraction of the calories eaten by a five-year-old go to power her brain?

            a. One tenth

            b. One quarter

            c. One half

            d. Two thirds

            e. Nearly all


4) How do your child’s genes and his environment interact during his development?

            a. His genes influence his sensitivity to environmental features

            b. His environment influences the expression of his genes

            c. His genes influence how you care for him.

            d. His genes and environment are inseparably entangled

            e. All of the above


5) Which of the following increases a baby’s intelligence?

            a. Breast-feeding during infancy

            b. Eating fish during pregnancy

            c. Listening to Mozart

            d. All of the above

            e. None of the above


6) If you cover a doll, then remove the drape, what will a baby be most surprised to see?

            a. Two dolls

            b. A toy car

            c. An upside-down doll

            d. A stuffed octopus

            e. A cheeseburger


7) Which of the following activities is likely to improve a child’s school performance?

            a. Studying with a friend

            b. Listening to music while studying

            c. Taking breaks from studying to play video games

            d. All of the above

            e. None of the above


8) What kind of dream experience is not yet within the capacity of a three-year-old?

            a. Seeing a dog standing around

            b. Playing with toys

            c. Sleeping in the bathtub

            d. Watching tropical fish

            e. Looking at an empty room


9) What accelerates the ability to understand what other people are thinking?

            a. Learning a second language

            b. Having an older sibling

            c. Parents who talk about emotions

            d. All of the above

            e. None of the above


10) Which of these activities reduces a child’s risk of nearsightedness?

            a. Eating fish

            b. Playing outside

            c. Learning a musical instrument

            d. Getting enough sleep

            e. Resting her eyes


11) Which categories can an infant distinguish?

            a. Male faces from female faces?

            b. Major chords from dissonant chords

            c. The mother’s language from a foreign language

            d. All of the above

            e. None of the above


12) Which of the following interventions has the largest effect?

            a. Ballet lessons improve gender identity

            b. Etiquette lessons improve empathy

            c. Moral lessons improve behavior

            d. Music lessons improve math ability

            e. Drama lessons improve social adjustment


13) What increases a child’s likelihood of becoming autistic?

            a. Being born prematurely

            b. Having an unresponsive mother

            c. Watching too much TV

            d. Receiving vaccinations

            e. Having older siblings


14) How does Ritalin improve focus in kids with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder?

            a. By altering the structure of brain circuits

            b. By sedating the child slightly

            c. By activating the same brain cells as cocaine and amphetamine

            d. All of the above

            e. None of the above


15) Which of the following activities improves self-control?

            a. Pretending to be a fireman

            b. Being breast-fed

            c. Watching baby videos

            d. Sleeping with parents

            e. Having cross-gender friendships


16) Brain imaging can do which of the following?

            a. Diagnose behavior disorders

            b. Predict reading and math ability

            c. Determine when a criminal is lying

            d. All of the above

            e. None of the above


17) Which of these experiences is most associated with future reading difficulties?

            a. Being deprived of children’s books as a toddler

            b. Writing letters backward at the age of four

            c. Having difficulty identifying spoken sounds

            d. Speaking two languages

            e. Not hearing enough children’s music early in life


18) Which of the following is most likely to improve a shy child’s future life?

            a. Having parents who read science books

            b. Playing with toy trucks

            c. Growing up in China

            d. All of the above

            e. None of the above


19) Where did the disciplinary concept of time-out originate?

            a. The rules or organized sports

            b. Frustrated parents

            c. Computer engineering

            d. Military slang

            e. Studies of learning in laboratory animals


20) How do children who learn a second language compare with monolingual children?

            a. Better at self-control

            b. Better at taking the perspective of other people

            c. Experience decline in intellectual sharpness later in adulthood

            d. All of the above

            e. None of the above




Key: 1) d, 2) b, 3) c, 4) e, 5) b, 6) a, 7) c, 8) b, 9) d, 10) b, 11) d, 12) e, 13) a, 14) c, 15) a, 16) e, 17) a, 18) c, 19) e, 20) d