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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.

Strauss, L.V. (2016). From Pilot Fish to Analyst: Finding a Path between Symbiotic and Autistic Defences. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 97(6):1521-1545.

(2016). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 97(6):1521-1545

From Pilot Fish to Analyst: Finding a Path between Symbiotic and Autistic Defences

L. Viviana Strauss

(Accepted for publication 24 February 2016)

This paper presents the clinical case of a patient with autistic features. One of the main difficulties in his treatment was the particular rapid rhythm of his projections, introjections and re-projections that constrained the analyst's capacity for reverie and hindered the use of effective projective identification processes. These alternating defensive constellations lead either to an expelling autistic barrier or to an engulfing symbiotic fusion. Their combination can be seen as the expression of a defence against an unintegrated and undifferentiated early experience of self that was in this way kept at bay to prevent it from invading his whole personality. Maintaining the symbiotic link, in which I kept included by staying partially fused to what was being projected and using my analytic function in a reduced way, helped to relate to what was in the patient's inside. Leaving this symbiotic link let my interpretations appear to force' their way through the autistic barrier. Yet as the process developed they allowed to show the patient how he ejected me and what was happening in his inside, behind his autistic barrier. So I found myself on the one hand accepting the symbiotic immobilization and on the other hand interpreting in a way that seemed forced to the patient, because it implied a breaking of the symbiotic position. The inordinate speed of projections and introjections could thus be interrupted, creating a space for awareness, reflection and transformation, and allowed the emergence of a connection between the patient's inside and outside. In the course of treatment I realized that this kind of dual defence system has been described by the late Argentinian analyst José Bleger. He assumes the existence of an early “agglutinated nucleus” that is held together by a psychic structure he calls the “glischro-caric” position, in which projective identification cannot take place because there is no self/object differentiation. I have considered the rapid and fugitive use of projection and re-introjection I met in my patient to be a manifestation of the dual defence system Bleger describes. Although he does not specifically mention this particular vicissitude of operative defences he does give hints about a rhythm in the patients' projections and introjections.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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