When I was in school, I took my two control system courses a total of five times. It was more an exercise in my resolve to get out of school than do be a good engineer.
However, these courses ended up having much more impact on my life than other courses. There were so many analogies to life both in the material in the courses as well as the epic to pass the courses.
One of the lessons was looking at an impulse response in modelling system. Basically, it’s something like this…
Let’s say you want to know what’s in a black box? Well, you might pick it up and give it a quick shake. Based on the response of the box to your shaking, you’ll be able to get a sense of what’s inside.
The analogy breaks down a bit as normally this type of analysis is done on linear, time invariant systems and people are not linear nor time invariant. However, in a brief instance, maybe they behave close enough that this applies.
How does someone respond when you smile at them? Say hello? Stare too much?
We try to pick up patterns of behaviour based on how people respond to these inputs. But what we’re really seeing is only a glimpse into an individual. It might not be possible to model them like we would an engine or a spring.