What is model?

We explain what a model is and what are formal and informal models. In addition, the various meanings that this term has.

  1. What is model?

The concept of model comes from the Italian model , being a diminutive of modus, which means way . The truth is that the term has an immense amount of uses, but they all have in common that a model is a way , it is something that is capable of being abstracted and analyzed outside of its simple practical application.

Perhaps for that the best way to start an analysis of the term is to stop by systemic models. These models are simplified representations of reality , which manage to take it to an area where it is easier to study and compare variables.

Mental models are the representations that are made in an imaginary way about reality. Each individual will have their own system of beliefs, values and thoughts that will lead them to model what they see in different ways. Almost all sciences have as one of the main tasks to model to theorize about issues that are developed in practice.

In general, the representations of the models can be done through drawings, graphics or mathematical expressions , but it may also have to be done in writing. These scientific models (including mathematical, physical, economic and medical models) can be characterized in different ways:

  • The formal models. They are those that are expressed from a specific and specific language . They are the only models that enjoy great precision, which makes them much easier to apply and compare exactly. The computer has meant a quantum leap in this type of models, with a much greater ability to simulate scenarios.
  • Informal models They are the ones that also express themselves, but not from a formal and precise language but in a symbolic way. They can be manifested in written or verbal form, as well as from causal relationships with symbologies such as arrows.

On the other hand, in the scientific world it is understood as a model to another question: all scientific research is framed in a context of time and space , which although the scientist wants to abstract somehow generate a series of consensus, a set of practices that define to the scientific discipline at that time.

The word paradigm  but also ‘ model ‘ refers to these practices, which include the type of questions that the scientist should ask, the way in which the results of the investigation are interpreted, the equipment available for conducting experiments and the ethical consensus in research. These models are not eternal, on the contrary situations occur that cause them to change flatly.

From an artistic point of view, a model is a person who poses for a sculpture , drawing or any visual expression. With regard to fashion, a model is a dress with unique characteristics, which makes a certain dressmaker and differs from all other garments of the same brand in particular by its design.

The model word, however, is also used to refer to the person who puts on a garment or accessory in order to show it to third parties . It is curious that this term is used since it is affirmed from many areas that brands look for people with very similar bodies, in general very skinny and attractive. In this way, it is possible to practically reach a modeling of the human body.

In people’s behavior , a model is a reference point that will be useful to seek to reproduce it . It is called a role model, and it can occur when a person observes another and feels that he would like to get to where he got, or also when a person acts correctly, and the others are expected to mimic their behavior. This is also called a model citizen . It even transcends the individuality of people, and you can talk about a model country when someone wants to imitate their policies, or a model company when another wants to repeat an experience she lived.

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