We explain what a model is and what formal and informal models are. In addition, the various meanings that this term has.
What is the model?
The model concept comes from the Italian model, a diminutive of modus, which means way. The truth is that the term has many uses, but they all have in common that a model is a way; it can be abstracted and analyzed outside of its simple, practical application.
Perhaps for this, the best way to begin an analysis of the term is to dwell on the 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 representations that are made in an imaginary way about reality. Each individual will have a system of beliefs, values, and thoughts that will lead them to model what they see in different ways. Almost all sciences have modeled as one of the main tasks to theorize about issues that unfold in practice.
In general, the representations of the models can be made through drawings, graphs, 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:
Formal models. They are those that are expressed in specific and concrete language. They are the only models with high precision, making them much easier to apply and compare accurately. Computing has meant a quantitative leap in this model, with a much greater capacity to simulate scenarios.
Informal models. They are the ones who also express themselves, not in formal and precise language but in a symbolic way. They can be manifested in written or verbal form and causal relationships with symbols such as arrows.
On the other hand, in the scientific world, a model is understood as another matter: all scientific research is framed in a context of time and space, which, although the scientist wants to abstract himself, will somehow generate a series of consensuses, a set of practices that define to the scientific discipline at that time.
The word paradigm and ‘model’ refers to these practices, which include the type of questions the scientist must ask, how the research results are interpreted, the equipment available for carrying out experiments, and the ethical consensus in research. These models are not eternal; on the contrary, situations cause them to change completely.
From an artistic point of view, a model is a person who poses for a sculpture, drawing, or any visual expression. As far as fashion is concerned, a model is a dress with unique characteristics, made by a particular dressmaker, and differs from all other garments of the same brand because of its design.
The word model, however, is also used to refer to the person who wears a garment or accessory to show it to third parties. Curiously, this term is used since it is affirmed from many areas that brands look for people with very similar bodies, generally very skinny and attractive. In this way, it is possible to model the human body practically.
In people’s behavior, a model is a point of reference that will help seek to reproduce. It is called a role model, and it can occur when a person observes another and feels that he would like to go as far as he has or when a person acts correctly, and others are expected to imitate his behavior. This is also called a model citizen. It even transcends people’s individuality, and one can. One is a model country when someone wants to imitate its policies or a model company when another wants to repeat an experience it lived through.