Dendrite Elimination

Directions: Please respond directly on this document without changing, removing or adding any text to the questions.

1. Describe in a few words what the term “epigenetics” means.

2. In her Ted Talk. Epigenetics and the influence of our genes Courtney Griffins tells the story of the rat mother who groomed and paid lots of “loving” attention to her pups during their first week of life. What happened and why is this important to our understanding of epigenetics and human development?

3. During neural formation in human embryonic development. The brain produces twice as many cells as are needed. Gradually between birth (or shortly before) and theage of 20, the brain sheds unnecessary connections between cells. This process is called

a. dendrite elimination

b. synaptic pruning

c. myelin stripping

d. none of the above.

4. If the process referred to in # 3 did not proceed on schedule, which of the following might occur?

a. the human head would be too large to be supported by the neck muscles

b. messages picked up by the senses would be relayed to the human brain along multiple pathways, while stronger neural connections fail to develop.

c. Autism might result.

d. b and c

5. Match the neurotransmitter in list A with the correct function and or association in list B. (Fill in the name of the neurotransmitter beside the function)

– Serotonin

– Dopamine:

– Oxytocin/Vasopressin:

– Endorphins

– Epinephrine:

– Cortisol:

__________ love, intimacy, maternal bonding

___________Fight /flight

– __________ mood (depression); 80% in gut

– __________analgesic, sexual activity

– __________pleasure, movement, Parkinson’s

– __________fight/flight (2nd example)

– 6. What three parts comprise the Triune brain?




7. Match the part of the brain from list A with the correct function or association in list B. (Fill in the name of the anatomical brain section beside the function)

List A


Cerebral cortex


Brain stem


Left side of brain



Prefrontal cortex (PFC):

Right brain

Brain’s portal to memory

List B

Lizard brain, fear center, survival,________________

Brain’s portal to memory_______________________

Vision ________________________________________

Side of the brain associated with conscious processing of “facts”, near (cause-effect),

logical, abstract reasoning________________

All senses except smell____________

auditory processing, language, _______________

Fear center, devoted to survival________________

Planning, judgment, Morality/empathy, Self-awareness, self-reflection, personal biography_________________

Side of the brain associated with emotional resonance/empathy, sending/receiving non-verbal communication (“motherese”)__________________

Outermost layer of the brain (wrinkles; 6 cells deep)__________________________

8.. In Neurofeedback #1, The Mind in Trauma (Fisher) the author describes how poverty impacts the child who has experienced disrupted attachment. In a paragraph of 3-4 sentences summarize the author’s description.

9. Briefly describe the mechanism of the “gut brain” and its relevance to human behavior, health and disorders. (four sentences). Avoid overly technical description but instead, frame your answer as if you were talkingwith a relative who has never heard this term. 

11. Watch High Road vs. Low RoadDan Siegel (4.5 minutes)

Write a brief essay describing what happens in the mind/brain when an individual who is on the “high road” transitions suddenly to the “low road” by responding to the following:

1. Initially, what goes on in the mind (thoughts, memories, unconscious interpretations) to start this downward spiral?

2. What signals from the body might alert the person about this largely unconscious reaction?

3. As the process escalates, what mechanisms occur in the structures of the brain?

4. What system of the brain is involved in this downturn?5. Name three actions a person could choose to take at the beginning of the incident or as a regular practice to avoid this negative outcome?

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