Abstract for: Objective Analysis of Subjective Feedback Structures: The Problem of Consistency in Explaining Model Behavior

Real-world concepts can be operationalized into variety of feedback structures which may be mathematically identical but diverse in the number of feedback loops. Factors including model purpose, the modelers’ perspective and the intended audience all influence the final layout of a feedback rich model. One challenge in the analysis of model behavior is to account for the variations in the appearance of its structure and the feedback loops. This paper focuses on consistency in explaining model behavior illustrates some of the issues related to the cancellation problem and figure-8 loops. Both conditions can potentially lead to poor and even contradictory explanations of model behavior based on its idiosyncratic feedback structure. The paper concludes by illustrating how the pathway participation approach addresses these two issues and calls for comparative studies to using alternative approaches to model analysis to better understand the general principles and subtleties in connecting the structure to the behavior and explaining observed dynamics. Different methods in formal analysis can learn from one another and expedite the development of user-friendly tools to aid model analysis that serve a wider audience.