Requirements Engineering

, 13:167 | Cite as

A cognitive semantics for the association construct

  • Joerg EvermannEmail author
Original Article


The unified modelling language (UML), besides its traditional use in describing software artifacts, is increasingly being used for conceptual modelling, the activity of describing an application domain. For models to be clear and unambiguous, every construct of the modelling language must have well-defined semantics, which is its mapping to elements of the semantic domain. When used for conceptual modelling, the semantic domain of UML is the application domain, as perceived by the modeller. Modellers perceive and structure their perceptions using cognitive concepts. This paper proposes a mapping of the UML association construct to those concepts. Implications for the use of the association construct for conceptual modelling are derived, a UML profile for conceptual modelling is presented, along with the results of a case study using the semantics and profile.


Object-oriented modelling Associations Natural language Semantics Cognition Psychology 


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Business AdministrationMemorial University of NewfoundlandSt. John’sCanada

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