The extended Bouc-Wen differential model is one of the most widely accepted phenomenological models of hysteresis in mechanics. It is routinely used in the characterization of nonlinear damping and in system identification. In this paper, the differential model of hysteresis is carefully re-examined and two significant issues are uncovered. First, it is found that the unspecified parameters of the model are functionally redundant. One of the parameters can be eliminated through suitable transformations in the parameter space. Second, local and global sensitivity analyses are conducted to assess the relative sensitivity of each model parameter. Through extensive Monte Carlo simulations, it is found that some parameters of the hysteretic model are rather insensitive. If the values of these insensitive parameters are fixed, a greatly simplified model is obtained.

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