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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.

Berliner, B. (1954). The Psychosomatic Concept in Psychoanalysis: Edited by Felix Deutsch, M.D. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1953. 182 pp.. Psychoanal Q., 23:586-587.

(1954). Psychoanalytic Quarterly, 23:586-587

The Psychosomatic Concept in Psychoanalysis: Edited by Felix Deutsch, M.D. New York: International Universities Press, Inc., 1953. 182 pp.

Review by:
Bernhard Berliner

This book, with contributions by fourteen authors, opposes the concept of 'psychogenic' disease as well as that of specificity of personality types for psychosomatic symptoms. It emphasizes psychophysiological development. Physiological changes occur parallel to psychological development, and so do regressions when initiated by stress or conflict. The functional reaction in time gives way to change in tissues; regression in the structure of a tissue results in the appearance of cell forms and of functional properties which had existed previously in the process of differentiation. Thus the psychosomatic pathology is explained by Sydney Margolin in terms of 'physiological regression' and 'repressed fantasies of function'.

Roy Grinker sees the core of the psychosomatic problem in the period of differentiation from totally hereditary to individually learned patterns and their integration into a new personal system. The development from the undifferentiated functional whole to the integrated mature individual determines the formation of healthy, sick, or potentially sick organisms. Lawrence Kubie, opposing the assumptions of specificity, shows how regressive and dissociative processes occur in the course of the decompensations which take place when any latent neurotic process becomes manifest. A great variety of psychosomatic disturbances may result from a constant neurotic process.

The late Margaret Gerard stresses the importance of emotional difficulties resulting from traumatic situations in the first months of life. Organ pathology may start here and may be regressively revived in later life.

[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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