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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.

Chambers, J. (2018). From Broken Attachments to Earned Security: The Role of Empathy in Therapeutic Change (John Bowlby Memorial Conference Monograph, 2011), Edited by Andrew Odgers, Karnac Books, London, 2014, 160 pp.. Psychodyn. Psych., 46(3):449-452.

(2018). Psychodynamic Psychiatry, 46(3):449-452

From Broken Attachments to Earned Security: The Role of Empathy in Therapeutic Change (John Bowlby Memorial Conference Monograph, 2011), Edited by Andrew Odgers, Karnac Books, London, 2014, 160 pp.

Review by:
Joanna Chambers, M.D.

This book is a compilation of the seven papers presented at the John Bowlby Memorial Conference in March, 2011, now seven years ago. It begins with an introduction to the eight accomplished individuals who served as editor and authors, including Sandra Bloom, Sue Gerhardt, Jane Haynes, Oliver James, Andrew Odgers, Anastasia Patrikiou, Eleanor Richards, and Kate White and a description of their work.

In the first chapter titled, “Attachment Theory and the John Bowlby Memorial Lecture 2011: A Short History,” Kate White describes how attachment theory has evolved over the past 18 years and how the John Bowlby Memorial Lectures have reflected these changes. It begins with the importance of John Bowlby’s work with attachment theory as it provided a new understanding of childhood trauma. The chapter lists and briefly describes the lecture topics including Mary Main, Daniel Stern, Stephen Mitchell, Peter Fonagy, Beatrice Beebe, Susie Orbach, Jody Messler Davies, Kimberlyn Leary, Bessel van der Kolk, Arietta Slade, Amanda Jones, Jude Cassidy, and Sandra Bloom. A description is given for how each of these pioneers helped contribute to the evolving understanding of attachment in both research and clinical settings.

The next chapter, “The Effort of Empathy,” by Sue Gerhardt, includes a wonderful description of the development and use of empathy in a treatment with a mother-infant pair. The case vividly demonstrates the importance of empathy and attachment in the therapeutic process and the effects they have on the mother-infant relationship. Through empathy in the treatment of the mother, both the mother and the infant are able to identify and learn how to regulate their emotional needs.

In the third chapter, “Love Bombing: A Simple Self-help Intervention for Parents to Reset Their Child’s Emotional Thermostat,” Oliver James describes an intervention for children from age three to puberty to improve secure attachment. The intervention, which he calls “love bombing,” entails a defined period of time, lasting anywhere from a few hours to several days, when the caretaker allows the child to be in control. The child is made aware beforehand that this time is special for them. Throughout the “love bombing” session, the child is repeatedly reassured how much they are loved, and the child gets to decide what the activities will be.

[This is a summary or excerpt from the full text of the article. PEP-Web provides full-text search of the complete articles for current and archive content, but only the abstracts are displayed for current content, due to contractual obligations with the journal publishers. For details on how to read the full text of 2018 and more current articles see the publishers official website.]

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