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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.

Waska, R. (2002). Craving, Longing, Denial, and the Dangers of Change: Clinical Manifestations of Greed. Psychoanal. Rev., 89(4):505-531.

(2002). Psychoanalytic Review, 89(4):505-531

Craving, Longing, Denial, and the Dangers of Change: Clinical Manifestations of Greed

Robert Waska

Greed can be defined as a normal desire that combines eagerness, curiosity, competitiveness, and a need for security, accusation, and protection. A passionate, excited hunger to possess all of the object, fundamentally the mother and her breast, gives rise to particular ways of relating to the self, the object, and to the environment. The ego becomes colored by an ongoing yearning, thirst, and longing for as much of the object, or certain aspects of the object relationship, as possible.

Greed becomes pathological when the “as much as possible” feeling is experienced as a cruel limitation. The pathologically greedy ego will not take no for an answer. When confronted with limitations, aggressive dynamics increase. External limits agitate oral aggression and increase feelings of greed and impatience. In addition, the ego can often be more hungry and demanding that the object or environment can produce. Both circumstances can create painful or hostile struggles internally and interpersonally. Many patients have trouble on both fronts.

The mental functioning of paranoid-schizoid (Klein, 1946) patients, who are still combating persecutory and catastrophic object-related phantasies, can be severely compromised by pathological greed. Depressive patients (Klein, 1935) are affected in similar ways if greed is the primary affect underlying their phantasy world.

The ego, fueled by unrest, greed, and anxiety, develops ideal expectations of an object capable of endless feeding. This constant reassuring, on-demand receptacle for all needs and ill-feelings is approached in different ways by depressive and paranoid patients.

[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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