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In behavioral system theory and in dynamic systems modeling, a behavioral model reproduces the required behavior of the original (analyzed) system such as there is a one-to-one correspondence between the behavior of the original system and the simulated system. That namely implies that the model uniquely predicts future system states from past systems states. The behavioral approach is motivated by the aim of obtaining a framework for system analysis that respects the underlying physics and sets up the appropriate mathematical concepts from there.

A key question of the behavioral approach is whether a quantity w1 can be deduced given an observed quantity w2 and a model. If w2 can be deduced given w1 and the model, w2 is said to be observable. In terms of mathematical modeling, the to-be-deduced quantity or variable is often referred to as the latent variable and the observed variable is the manifest variable. Such a system is then called an observable (latent variable) system.

The above system theoretic definition, underlies to some degree most current usages of the term behavioral model. More specifically, the term behavioral modeling is also encountered in the following fields:


  • J.W. Polderman and J.C. Willems, 1998. Introduction to Mathematical Systems Theory: A Behavioral Approach, 424 pages, Springer, New York.
  • Paolo Rapisarda and Jan C.Willems, 2006. Recent Developments in Behavioral System Theory. Mini-course, July 24-28, 2006, MTNS 2006, Kyoto, Japan
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