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noun jigs n.

 1 [physical jigs] A device that holds a piece of work and guides the tools operating it in order to provide repeatability, accuracy, and interchangeability in the manufacturing of products. A jig is often confused with a fixture; a fixture holds the work in a fixed location. A device that does both functions (holding the work and guiding a tool) is called a jig. Jigs or templates have been known long before the industrial age. There are many types of jigs, and each one is custom-tailored to do a specific job. Jigs are a form of template in that they can be a shaped piece of metal, wood, card, plastic, or other material used as a pattern for processes such as painting, cutting out, shaping, or drilling. Jigs therefore serve as a model for others to copy.

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2 [cognitive jigs] A common conceptual structure or templatic mental model that can be used and reused for a particular cognitive purpose in order to provide repeatability, accuracy, and interchangeability in cognitive tasks. Cognitive Jigs are, to a large extent, content or information agnostic, meaning that any given jig could be used for a variety of cognitive tasks or across a variety of topical areas. Cognitive jigs allow us to not have to “reinvent the wheel” when performing common cognitive tasks.

ORIGIN: The term jig is mid-16th century and of unknown origin; the term cognitive jig was coined by Derek Cabrera to communicate the practical and tactile use of cognitive jigs as a way to identify, use, and reuse cognitive patterns (mental models) that are common or repeatedly used. Cabrera gives various discovered jigs common, basic, and memorable names such as “Barbells,” “P-circles,” “R-channels,” and “Part-parties.” Analogies, similes, and metaphors are cognitive jigs. To date, 40 cognitive jigs have been formally identified, but Cabrera estimates there are hundreds (if not thousands) more. Cabrera identifies the degree of content-agnosticism of a jig as an indicator of its universality. The more a jig is content agnostic, the more universal it is, and perhaps the more difficult it is to discover.

See also:

  1. Cabrera, D., and Cabrera, L. (2020). Cognitive Jigs: Content-Free, Modular, Molecular, Structures for Understanding and Problem Solving. Journal of Applied Systems Thinking. (20) 10
  2. Jig Map of Maps
  3. Glossary of Known Jigs
  4. Read these blogs on the basics of Jigs:

More on Jigs

What are Jigs?

Jigs are re-useable structures of knowledge and thinking that increase cognitive efficiency. Think of a jig as a common conceptual template that can be used over and over again in your thinking.

  • Where did the term "jig" come from?A jig refers to "a device that holds a piece of work and guides the tools operating on it." Carpenters use jigs all the time to do repeated operations that would otherwise (without the jig) take a lot of time and effort. Jigs are very practical because they save you cognitive time and effort. Cognitive jigs are not only useful but often have fun or funny names. Because they are meant to be useful and memorable.

How are jigs made?

Jigs are common structures that can be seen as patterns of thought. Jigs are called "molecular structures" because they are complexes that are made up of lesser "atomic" DSRP structures + [sometimes] content information.

  • Atomic conceptual structures = the most basic elements (Dio, Spw, Rae, and Ppv)
  • Molecular conceptual structures = relatively simple or complex structures that combine atomic structures and information content in a way that are useful and re-useable.

You already use jigs...

You are already familiar with jigs eve if you are new to the term. Here are some common jigs you are already familiar with

  • Lists
  • Metaphors
  • Analogies
  • Similes
  • Cause-Effect
  • Inference
  • Tables