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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.

Friedlander, K. (1947). 'The Function of Drawings and the Meaning of the "Creative Spell" in a Schizophrenic Artist.': Else Pappenheim, M.D. and Ernst Kris, Ph.D. (New York).. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 28:46.
Psychoanalytic Electronic Publishing: 'The Function of Drawings and the Meaning of the "Creative Spell" in a Schizophrenic Artist.': Else Pappenheim, M.D. and Ernst Kris, Ph.D. (New York).

(1947). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 28:46

'The Function of Drawings and the Meaning of the "Creative Spell" in a Schizophrenic Artist.': Else Pappenheim, M.D. and Ernst Kris, Ph.D. (New York).

Kate Friedlander

Psychoanalytic Quarterly, Vol. XV, 1946, No. 1.

This paper sets out to discuss the change of function of drawing and the urge to this activity in an artist during a psychotic attack. The patient was a forty-nine-year-old architect who had been observed by the authors for a period of three months at the University Hospital for Mental and Nervous Diseases in Vienna in 1938. The patient had previously been hospitalized for two short periods in 1932 and 1934, but his productive activity started only in June 1937. From this time until his admittance to hospital in January 1938 he produced a large quantity of drawings, from three to six large sheets daily. There were indications of a mounting urge to draw to which the authors refer as 'a creative spell'. The patient's main delusional ideas centred round his identification with God and his extensive ideas of reference and persecution were clearly linked to this identification. The drawings, ten of which are reproduced, superficially resemble architectural sketches. They were not produced with any artistic intention in mind but represent statements which the patient wishes to validate. The authors analyse various recurring themes in the drawings and relate them to the patient's delusional ideas and his thought processes.

In discussing their findings the authors concentrate first on the course of the psychosis. They assume that the patient had an experience of 'Weltuntergang' and that the psychotic system is an attempt of recapturing the world. The drawing spell has two functions within this framework, namely to prevent further diffusion of instincts and to reassert the truth of the delusions. The authors further discuss the 'identity with God'. They stress the fact that 'all artistic creation tends to be linked to the Divine'. They distinguish between two types of relationship with God 'one in which the artist is God's rival and the other, in which he is his tool'. The patient approximates the second type, but in contrast to the real artist the force which inspires him from outside is re-introjected and he becomes God himself. He therefore produces no works of art any longer and his drawings do not serve the purpose of communication. Described in terms of Ego-psychology the artist is—during inspiration—subject to a partial Ego-regression, one still controlled by the Ego which retains the function of identification with the audience. The patient's drawings have no bearing on people around him. They are statements bearing on the future: in the very act of drawing he brings about magical changes in the world.

In the patient's handling of shapes the primary process is pronounced and there is a great similarity to the handling of words in other schizophrenics. Examples of this are given.

The normal artist is not devoid of magic, but the difference between him and the psychotic is firstly that he does not create in order to transform the outer world and secondly that his production has a realistic meaning. The psychotic creates 'in order to transform the real world'. He does not create for an audience.

The authors maintain that 'art as an æsthetic—and therefore as a social—phenomenon is linked to the intactness of the Ego'.

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Article Citation

Friedlander, K. (1947). 'The Function of Drawings and the Meaning of the "Creative Spell" in a Schizophrenic Artist.'. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 28:46

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