Hypothesis formation and testing is a voluntary cognitive process that is thought to be supported by the frontal cortex of the brain. Since the 1950s, hypothesis testing has been a main focus of behavioral studies of human learning across the lifespan. Because this is such a broad field, this entry focuses on hypothesis testing in the area of rule-based category learning and examines the underlying cognitive factors essential for successful hypothesis testing, brain structures that modulate hypothesis testing, and the impact normal aging has on neurocognitive processes required for successful hypothesis testing.

Underlying Cognitive Factors

Rule-based category problems, tasks that are solved by explicit rules or strategies, require the formation and testing of hypotheses to determine the rule that best solves the problem. This involves a ...

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