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Tip: Understanding Rank

PEP-Web Tip of the Day

When you do a search, you can sort the results bibliographically alphabetical or by “rank”. What is Rank?

Rank refers to the search engine’s “best guess” as to the relevance of the result to the search you specified. The exact method of ranking used varies a bit depending on the search. In its most basic level, when you specify a single search term, rank looks at the density of the matches for the word in the document, and how close to the beginning of the document they appear as a measure of importance to the paper’s topic. The documents with the most matches and where the term is deemed to have the most importance, have the highest “relevance” and are ranked first (presented first).

When you specify more than one term to appear anywhere in the article, the method is similar, but the search engine looks at how many of those terms appear, and how close together they appear, how close to the beginning of the document, and can even take into account the relative rarity of the search terms and their density in the retrieved file, where infrequent terms count more heavily than common terms.

To see a simple example of this, search for the words (not the phrase, so no quotes):

unconscious communications

Look at the density of matches in each document on the first page of the hits. Then go to the last page of matched documents, and observe the density of matches within the documents.

A more complex search illustrates this nicely with a single page and only 15 matches:

counter*tr* w/25 “liv* out” w/25 enact*

There are a lot of word forms and variants of the words (due to the * wildcards) above that can match, but the proximity (w/25) clause limits the potential for matching. What’s interesting here though is how easily you can see the match density decrease as you view down the short list.

The end result of selecting order by rank is that the search engine’s best “guess” as to which articles are more relevant appear higher on the list than less relevant articles.

For the complete list of tips, see PEP-Web Tips on the PEP-Web support page.

Neubauer, P.B. (1979). The Role Of Insight In Psychoanalysis. J. Amer. Psychoanal. Assn., 27S(Supplement):29-40.

(1979). Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association, 27S(Supplement):29-40

The Role Of Insight In Psychoanalysis

Peter B. Neubauer, M.D.

Presented at the Anna Freud-Hampstead Center Symposium held by the Michigan Psychoanalytic Society, November 11, 1978.

ALTHOUGH IT IS GENERALLY AGREED that the development of insight is fundamental to the therapeutic effect of psychoanalysis, it has not been determined exactly how insight is effective. Nunberg's (1937p. 161) statement still holds:

… any attempt at forming a theory of therapy is bound to prove incomplete and may even involve a number of contradictions.

I hope to raise questions here that may help toward eventually establishing an integrated theory of insight.

No fully satisfactory analytic definition of insight exists. Webster (1965) defines it psychiatrically as "recognition of one's own illness." Concepts of analytic insight have changed as psychoanalytic theory has changed. In terms of topographical theory, during insight, unconscious thoughts and feelings become conscious or preconscious as repression is lifted. With the development of the structural approach, insight was seen to involve the integration into the ego of aspects of the id. Freud's

Where id was, there ego shall be

(1933, p.80) defined the task of analysis. Essentially, insight during psychoanalysis comprises the expansion of the ego by self-observation, memory recovery, cognitive participation, and reconstruction in the context of affective reliving.

It is not certain whether and under what circumstances insight produces a therapeutic effect. Some think it an instrument by which an analytic result is achieved, while others maintain that insight is the result of — a by-product of — an analytic process that is therapeutic in itself.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the book or article. The full text of the document is available to subscribers.]

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