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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.

Langer, M. (1946). Deutsch, Helene: Ueber das induzierte Irresein (Folie à deux). (Sobre la psicosis inducida. “Folie à deux.”) “Intern. Ztschrft. f. Psa.”, tomo 23, págs. 470-478; 1937.. Rev. psicoanál., 3(4):846.

(1946). Revista de Psicoanálisis, 3(4):846

Deutsch, Helene: Ueber das induzierte Irresein (Folie à deux). (Sobre la psicosis inducida. “Folie à deux.”) “Intern. Ztschrft. f. Psa.”, tomo 23, págs. 470-478; 1937.

Review by:
Marie Langer

Analizando a cuatro casos de folie à deux la autora demuestra los distintos estados patológicos que pueden llevar a la psicosis inducida. En el primer caso, se trata de una seudología fantástica en común. Tres miembros de una familia satisfacen sus deseos conscientes e inconscientes en una ensoñación diurna en común y pierden el sentido para el carácter irreal de sus fantasías. En el segundo caso, una muchacha esquizofrénica se deja inducir por el sistema de un paranoico porque el contenido manifiesto de su idea delirante corresponde al conflicto inconsciente de ella. En el tercer caso, una hija neurótica acepta vivir temporariamente la psicosis de su madre por estar fijada a ella y porque sus sentimientos de culpa le impiden abandonarla. En el último caso, se trata de dos hermanas, que por su fijación mutua y por haber tenido las mismas vivencias, enferman del mismo cuadro y viven su esquizofrenia paranoica en común.

A pesar de tratarse de cuadros tan distintos de psicosis inducida —y la diferencia proviene de la diversidad de las estructuras y vivencias, que en un caso pueden llevar a la histeria y en otro a la paranoia —queda demostrada la existencia de un mecanismo idéntico en todos los casos: el que induce la idea delirante y el inducido; los dos tratan de recuperar por este camino un objeto perdido. Además, la autora comprueba que —igualmente como ocurre en la sugestión e hipnosis— una idea no puede ser inducida a una persona, si es ajena a su yo.

Marie Langer.

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