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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.

Kavolis, V. (1971). Sex Norms, Emotionality and Artistic Creativity: Psychohistorical Explorations. Psychoanal. Rev., 58(1):22-36.

(1971). Psychoanalytic Review, 58(1):22-36

Sex Norms, Emotionality and Artistic Creativity: Psychohistorical Explorations

Vytautas Kavolis

The psychoanalytic theories which have linked artistic creativity to partial “sublimation of instinctual drives” (or their displacement), combined with “a certain amount of direct sexual gratification,”34a suggest that artistic creativity might be enhanced in the historic periods characterized by a moderate inhibition of sexuality, and reduced in those of extreme sexual restrictiveness or permissiveness.42a Psychoanalytic theory also relates emotionality— a “richness and intensity of feeling”34b— to the ability to create art. And experimental psychology has shown originality to be associated with “responsiveness to impulse and emotion” and a “greater depth of feeling.”2 It stands to reason that “emotionality” is not a free-floating quality, but rather is attached to man's relationships with sociocultural objects and expressed through them. We might then expect the historic periods in which the investment of feeling into sociocultural objects is high to be the artistically creative ones. Among sociocultural objects, I shall specifically consider systems of belief and social relationships, both of which can be invested with highly variable amounts of emotion.

Since the emotionalization of sociocultural objects may be not unrelated to socially imposed or internalized inhibitions of direct sexual gratification,3,35,36,41a I start with the hypothesis that the two variables presumably linked with artistic creativity— moderate sex restrictiveness and emotionalization of culture and social relations— will also be associated between themselves, though not necessarily in a one-to-one relationship (1).

[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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