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This module presents the basic idea of a model to be used in the physical sciences, social sciences, and engineering. Perhaps also in the humanities.


The concept of a model is very close to that of an analogy. It is so fundamental to our thought, decisionmaking, and problem solving processes that it is difficult to isolate and study; however, to accomplish the goal of simulatingand understanding complicated social systems, it is essential that we do understand the concept of a model and develop methods forconstructing them. Like many basic concepts, it is best described by examples:

Physical model

To the average person the word "model" might bring to mind someone modeling a dress, or perhaps a photographer'smodel, or even a model airplane or car. Let's consider these cases. The usual reason for looking at a dress on a model is to imaginewhat the dress would look like on one's self without having to buy it to find out. The photographer uses his camera to make a likenessof the model in the form of a picture. The model plane or car allows one to enjoy the details and perspectives of the modelwithout the problems and expense of actual ownership of the airplane or car. Indeed, one can try experiments on the models thatwould be very difficult or expensive to actually perform on the real thing.

Consider the methods and purposes behind the architect's model of a building, the car designer's prototype of anew design, or the aerodynamicist's wind tunnel model of a new airplane. As one considers what is common to these ideas of a modeland what purposes are served, perhaps the concept begins to take shape.

Mental model

Rather than further pursue the various types of physical models, let us consider another less obvious form ofmodel, the mental model. For example, the merchant who mentally speculates: "if I increase the price of this article from x to y,the buyers will still buy enough that I will come out ahead," and the mother who says, "if I spank my child for leaving his toys out,he will stop", are both using intuitive mental models of incredibly complicated economic, sociological, and psychological systems thateven experts don't agree on. Freud, Skinner, Erikson and others have all produced models of human psychology that much of moderntherapy and advertising are based on. Indeed, reflection indicates that much of human thought is involved with mental model making andthe use of these models for decision making, problem solving, or merely pleasure.

The politician who tells the voters what will happen if certain policies are followed, the advertiser who tellsthe potential buyer the results of using his product, and the preacher who predicts the consequences of evil to his followers areall involved with the building and use of mental and verbal models.

Even the simple speculation of "if I wear these clothes I will look nice" is based on a model of how one'sfriends will respond to one's dress. Indeed, most processes of experience can be viewed as model building, experimentation, modelmodification, etc. Further reflection shows how much of one's mental activities can be viewed as involved with modeling and howmany academic disciplines are based on models, even though the concept and process is poorly understood and seldom explicitlydiscussed.

Questions & Answers

how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
linda Reply
why surface tension is zero at critical temperature
Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
Crystal Reply
. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Dynamics of social systems. OpenStax CNX. Aug 07, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col10587/1.9
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