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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.

Lewis, N.D. (1928). Hypnosis. Psychoanal. Rev., 15(4):440-442.

(1928). Psychoanalytic Review, 15(4):440-442

Special Reviews


Review by:
N. D. C. Lewis

This monograph by outstanding masters of hypnotic technic is the most concise, yet thorough presentation of the subject that has appeared in recent years. Throughout the work an attempt has been made to correlate the psychological and biological points of view and much of the experimental material has been acquired through investigations in psychoanalysis and in epidemic encephalitis.

In discussing the fundamentals of hypnosis they adhere closely to demonstrable biological facts. For instance, “The innervation of the heart and of the vessels depends very much, of course, on the emotions. Much has been said about the bodily expression and bodily effects of feeling, and not always with reason, for there are no feelings that are not related with some conceptional, perceptional, or ideological content or other. It would therefore be more reasonable to speak of the bodily effect of the emotions.” … “The importance of the effects of emotions and suggested emotions on the vascular system cannot be overestimated when we remember that every organ of the body is supplied with blood vessels and that the most remote regions of the body are therefore accessible to suggestion by way of the vascular system.” … “This attitude simultaneously furnishes us with the general formulation that every conception, every perception, every idea has its appropriate vasovegetative consequences, and that in order to attain a certain result within the vasovegetative system it is necessary to ascertain the content of the corresponding conception.”

In the chapter on the “Effects of Hypnosis” the authors have pointed out many remarkable instances of the influence of hypnosis on chemical and physiological factors, e. g., the production of fever, changes in basal metabolism, alterations in the calcium index of the blood, nystagmus, vertigo and past pointing.

[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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