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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.

Taipale, J. (2016). Controlling the uncontrollable. Self-regulation and the dynamics of addiction. IJP Open, 3:71.

(2016). IJP Open, 3:71

Controlling the uncontrollable. Self-regulation and the dynamics of addiction

Joona Taipale

Current multidisciplinary research on addictions generally endorses the impression that addictive behavior is either caused or at least maintained by the external psychoactive substance. While the latter is considered to being “addictive in itself”, the psychological, experiential dimension in addictions is rendered as something secondary. However, in order to understand addictions comprehensively, the psychological dimension of addictions must be elaborated in its own terms. The present article engages in a detailed examination of the psychological, phenomenological, and psychodynamic aspects of addiction. It argues that, psychologically speaking, addictive behavior is owing to deficiencies in affective self-regulation and emerges as a compensation for these deficiencies. By tracing the patterns of addiction back to deficiencies in affect regulation, and by dealing with these deficiencies in terms of ambivalence and transitional object relations, the article suggests that addictive behavior can be understood as a maladaptive modification of responding to affective plight. The article argues that addictive behavior is motivated by the sense of being out of control. The tragedy of the addict, however, is that he only manages to replace one sense of uncontrollability with another.

[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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