Raine, Samenow, Fallon: Neuropsychology & The Work

Konstantin

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I just finished reading the book” Inside the Criminal Mind. I also read this thread too and while progressing through the book and reading the whole time I was inspecting my own thoughts.

It is interesting to see how from time to time I catch myself in errors in thinking patterns. And how just awareness of that can be a big help in correcting that.

This is a very useful book and for sure it deserves a place on our list of recommended books to read.

Last 2 chapters where Dr. Yochelson describes the case of Leroy are very helpful in terms that there we can see in practice how the criminal mind is functioning, how those errors in thinking can occur and unnoticed influence our decisions. Leroy was a great example.

If you add networking to this concept, then we have a very powerful tool in understanding and correcting our own thinking errors.
 
It is interesting to see how from time to time I catch myself in errors in thinking patterns. And how just awareness of that can be a big help in correcting that.
Me too, for me this book is quite unexpected and unusually. I ran into many of my prejudices, especially the big part that I thought that parents have in upbringing a child. I still didn't reach half of the book so I don't know is he talk about that influence more. It's disturbing how psychologists and therapist easily bring up the guilt in the parents and delinquent use this to hurt them, even more.

Book is great (at least for now), I was always wonder why some people do bad things (intentionally). This new information makes me feel less stressful when I encounter people that I know for a fact that they are criminals. Probably not for jail time, but they have a need for constant lying and stealing. Reading about the way they mind works helps me to be calm and observe them, much better than being in constant fear what they gonna do next.
 

goyacobol

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It is interesting to see how from time to time I catch myself in errors in thinking patterns. And how just awareness of that can be a big help in correcting that.

This is a very useful book and for sure it deserves a place on our list of recommended books to read.

Last 2 chapters where Dr. Yochelson describes the case of Leroy are very helpful in terms that there we can see in practice how the criminal mind is functioning, how those errors in thinking can occur and unnoticed influence our decisions. Leroy was a great example.
I felt the same way about those last 2 chapters. For me it was like listening to Gurdjieff, Collingwood and the Cs all woven together.
 

hlat

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I'm in the beginning of Anatomy of Violence and I think two of the book's points are off the mark. The book describes identical twin girls who were separated at 9 months old and grew up to be repeat criminals. The implicit assumption is that the environment of these twins from conception to 9 months was not very important in terms of environmental impact (as opposed to genetic impact). But as we have learned from Healing Developmental Trauma, those 18 months are very important when developmental trauma is involved. I think it is highly likely that these two twins who were separated experienced developmental trauma before and after birth, from parents who did not want at least one of them, and that extends to all adoption cases that the book discusses.

The book also mentions a study that concluded parents have little influence on teenagers. As Gabor Mate explained, children including teenagers are oriented to and model their behavior from their primary attachments. If the parents are the children's primary attachments, then the parents will have the main influence on the children as opposed to the children's peers.
 

Approaching Infinity

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I'm in the beginning of Anatomy of Violence and I think two of the book's points are off the mark. The book describes identical twin girls who were separated at 9 months old and grew up to be repeat criminals. The implicit assumption is that the environment of these twins from conception to 9 months was not very important in terms of environmental impact (as opposed to genetic impact). But as we have learned from Healing Developmental Trauma, those 18 months are very important when developmental trauma is involved. I think it is highly likely that these two twins who were separated experienced developmental trauma before and after birth, from parents who did not want at least one of them, and that extends to all adoption cases that the book discusses.
The two are not contradictory. Not all infants or children respond the same way to the same degree of trauma. That's why you can have individuals with horrendous childhoods who do not become criminals, and others who do. There's a strong aspect of personality traits (heritable to a large degree - though I wouldn't limit "heredity" simply to genetics).

The book also mentions a study that concluded parents have little influence on teenagers. As Gabor Mate explained, children including teenagers are oriented to and model their behavior from their primary attachments. If the parents are the children's primary attachments, then the parents will have the main influence on the children as opposed to the children's peers.
Good point, perhaps (how often is it that parents are children's primary attachments?), but the observation doesn't connect with the study. If parents aren't the primary attachments of the teens in question, they will have little influence on teenagers, and that's what the study found. Peterson often cites research that if kids are monsters by 4 years old, there's little to nothing the parents can do about it after the fact.
 

Jones

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I had a similar thought about 'The Myth of the Out of Character Crime' where the basic point is about there not being such a thing as an out of character crime. At one point the discussions is about juvenile delinquents who pushed their parents until they snapped. I wonder how it could be said that the parents behaviour when they snapped could be said to be out of character? I guess that acting out under pressure is a part of the parents character, but they have chosen under most circumstances not to act out that behaviour, where the juvenile delinquent has made no such choices.
 
I have now read Inside The Criminal Mind and this whole thread. I realized that I didn't have an actual picture of what a criminal is, neither did I think about that before. I guess its mainly because we know criminals from entertainment/movies/TV, where they are mainly portrayed as they would describe themself. The book has a grounding effect for me, dissillusioning, good emphasis on personal responsability. It helps with some process towards what the C's described as 'awakened conscience'. It wasn't a big shocker for me, as i already started to peal myself out since years, but for example for the first time i guess, i ask myself how i could have created difficulties in and for my childhood family. I always dabbled in psychology, finding all kinds patterns that caused me difficulties growing up, but i never considered me being a problem for others. My sister mentioned nowadays that she was often angry when i, as a kid, always got from our parents what i wanted. I guess i was kind of clever / manipulative / like a little magician, maybe being the youngest of three also helped. So it was good to see me as part of the family problem from which i suffered, though it wasn't as bad the children in the book who appeared to have come into this world already packed with a lot of negativity. When they where described i often saw them like they stand at the exit of a tunnel opening into this world and reaching far behind them like coming from a completely different world of experiences. (As a can of worms: I thought if a 2D predator or Feliformia or anything graduates to 3D... ). Busting the myth about a tabula rasa screwed up by environment was also interesting. Rereading this thread a movie called 'Mystic River' came to my mind. I remember it describing 3 kids/men and how their character traits draw patterns through their strangely interwoven lives.

I certainly have problems facing difficulties, being put down easily by obstacles or even every-day obligations. Also this fairytale about 'some day in the future' is often present in my mind, though i think it's more a catch at a straw to help continuance with the present than an actual belief.
They have the idea that one day they will quit crime, go straight and settle down, but that day is constantly deferred. (3) They have a habit of deferring the minor routine responsibilities of life – paying a bill, writing a letter, filing a tax return.

As a result of a instable/broken up family constellation (what an excuse) i became a quite insecure person which led to aspects like the superiority complex mentioned by Pierre in some way and entitlement etc. . Those things of course get worse with withdrawal and lack of feedback from social interactions which the selfimage could not withstand.
As you probably know, superiority complex is often an overcompensation for a core feeling of inferiority.
These days when I'm going off with ideas or excitement then i quickly remind myself of how little i have already achieved and how much work it would really be etc., and when i feel completely worthless i remind myself of all the possibilities that i know are out there even if i cannot see them at that moment. It's like a process of merging two extremes to try to become a person of integrity and hopefully responsibility. I also seem to develop some view on the things i do wrong instead of the blessing that i am, maybe that comes naturally with age also (I'm still young though).

@Keyhole, impressive sharing! I can relate to many of these things too. A new image of ourself can be horrible, but at least its real :-) (or more real, for some time). I wish you the best to be able to integrate.

And that's not to say that there may not be some who can STILL explain it away even after reading Samenow.
10 years ago i may have found Samenow to conservative ('boring') or too insensitive if i would have read the book at all. His view might not have been fancy enough for me.:whistle:

But in general i think 'thinking errors' or entitlement are not really the base problem, they might be more like symptoms, even though pointing them out is certainly necessary. It comes down more to the inability to accept, face and deal with difficulties or outside factors. All that 'My Way' is just a setup for the illusion of control and power. And it's root is a lack of control and discipline and the avoidance of the demands of the world and society. At many points in the book i wondered how a Don Juan would have dealt with a criminal (or with me, would be 'funny' too). In some book of Castaneda there was a scene where Don Juan sensed within Castaneda some pride for his intellectual and academic background and a hidden pity for Don Juan as a simple indian. Don Juan flipped the situation completely by pointing out that he is a warrior and Castaneda is a prostitute selling ideas of others. I imagine he could have done that or similar with any of us modern people, including criminals.
 
So far I've read Inside the Criminal Mind followed by Raine. I am so thankful to follow the lead considering those books among the rest, I wouldn't have imagined it was going to have such an impact on me. I also read HDT prior to that, which made me click on the concept of connectedness and regulation. It has never been so clear.

I read the whole thread and I would like to thank everyone for sharing their thoughts and @Altair for bringing together most relevant parts, that is extremely helpful whether we already read it or not. Connecting the dots with HDT gives a sense of ability to change.

I'm glad I'm not the only one to have noticed the criminal inside. I began to read Samenow knowing that I was supposed to see something useful for the Work, without really knowing what or where it was headed.
Then I felt the need to read the thread to see if anyone had some similar reactions to mine. Glad it is the case. Among others :

That I had internalized a belief that I was owed something in Life, and somehow deserving of great things, even though I hadn't put in the constant hard work or effort necessary to justify that belief. That I was better than other people because I was smarter and had all this 'esoteric knowledge' which most people don't approach, and that this somehow separated me from the rest of the crowd. But as my life 'flashed' before my eyes, these beliefs didn't match up with what I was seeing.
I realized I’ve been behaving with similar thinking patterns outlined in the first few chapters of the book for the majority, if not my entire life. And I couldn’t help but reflect on my past bad deeds and behaviors. I’ve also had this continual pattern of wishful thinking that I was going to be/do something great, without having to put any work into the process. Like it was just owed to me.
This book led me to a vast recollection of memories, just as with HDT. It was uncomfortable sometimes and reassuring at other times, in any way really necessary to assess my behavior under a new light.

I can recognize some thinking errors still present to this day like :
  • Failure to establish priorities and plan ahead while delaying gratification
  • Interpreting things personally as a deliberate putdown, Hypersensitivity when feeling slighted by others, susceptibility
  • Unrealistic expectations of myself and other people
  • Assuming without facts
  • Blaming other people for difficulties that I created or contributed to
  • Just thinking something makes it so to some degree, it relates to talking too much without really knowing anything AND not walking the talk
  • Dealing with adversity by fantasizing, daydreaming
  • Thinking I know more, feeling entitled
  • Falling back into an addiction by eliminating from my thinking the bad consequences implied
What stood out for me :

The criminal’s view of himself as a decent person constitutes a major barrier to change.
Behavior is a product of thinking.


It is scary to realize that "a crime is the result of thought patterns embedded in the personality of the defendant".
Daydreaming has taken a huge part of my life, especially in my teenage years. Fantasizing about how I should have handled a situation, being the hero who saves the weak, or fighting/controlling the villain, escaping from reality that way was easy and comforting. I gave it an enormous time when I think about it, and it became an embedded pattern progressively. I'm sure it led me to be more susceptible because I progressively gave credit to this idealized self which is perfect thus untouchable. There's a blending that must occur at some point resulting in unspeakable behavior when you let it progressively rule the life that you are failing to live because of unrealistic expectations.

Bottom-up, a cold shower does the trick of resetting my thoughts back to reality. Also, I now am at a point in my life where I feel useful and needed, which in turn reduces greatly the underlying noises of thoughts, judgments, and identifications, back to down to earth obligations of life and needed work to be done.

I still can get stuck in anticipation, overwhelmed by all there is to do and the things I don't do and back in lalaland, but it doesn't last as long at it used to as I progressively begin to use the tools provided.

I see myself under a new light now, for sure, I understand what the terror of the situation is. I had trouble to really grasp De Salzmann's The First Initiation prior to that, it was the missing piece for me.

The daily assesments of thoughts seems like an interesting exercise, I wonder if it would be reproductible in any way here. Thinking about how you will think in the future is not an easy exercise, I guess it is made easier by a diary of thoughts.

I liked very much this "out of time" hypothesis as portrayed from message #100 by @kenlee and @Altair, reflecting on where I am now versus where I was and where I want to be, it all makes sense.

Maybe it has something to do with the illusion of linear time which we all are succumbed to? By seeing your own thinking errors at the time they occur you kind of go above them and above linear timeline (which on bigger scale can probably be described as a time loop), your mind becomes "timeless" for a moment and capable of "seeing" and "choosing" other timelines beneath, i. e. other possible "futures".
It relates to The Paradox of Change

In NARM, it is maintained that the more we try to change ourselves, the more we prevent change from occurring. On the other hand, the more we allow ourselves to fully experience who we are, the greater the possibility of change. This understanding is core to NARM. The orientation is one of working with what is, rather than how we want things to be. This perspective is consistent with the present-moment focus because it is only in the present moment that we are able to fully experience ourselves.
That's assuming - for a not so broken brain- that by allowing yourself to fully experience who you are and acknowledging your very thoughts, you (or the therapist/network) will most likely see that there are some errors in your thinking, and therefore adjust it. But if you don't, how can you be helped, by yourself, or others ?

Raine was so interesting to understand the anatomy of the brain in details. I found some statistics to be not so relevant though, as if some other factors were missing. Samenow found the correlation between all. I found it sad that he is not aware of his work. The legal implications of those discoveries are unsettling, with the whole concepts of responsability and self-reflection as being linked to a specific area of the brain, what are we supposed to do when the offender is disabled?
Something is missing regarding the question of free will related to brain structure, as the Cs said somewhere, it's not something we can isolate from other relevant factors, from the whole.

Anyway, the take home message for me is the importance of feeding the brain properly and daily because it's plastic and can be improved. That is motivating in that way. It's also frightening in some cases where it's broken.
Can't wait to read more of Samenow!
 

hlat

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After finishing Samenow's Inside the Criminal Mind and Raine's Anatomy of Violence, I'm firmly in Samenow's camp because he emphasizes free will. I've also started Samenow's Before It's Too Late, and he continues to give examples of families with multiple children, some wealthy families and some poor families. All the other children did not become criminals and became responsible people, in contrast to the black sheep criminal sibling. Choice and character were what mattered, as they all the siblings had the same backgrounds.

I think Raine got a twisted lesson from his sister's cancer, viewing criminal behavior in a victim's mentality as medical disease instead of criminal choice. Raine's child molester with a tumor still knew what he was doing was wrong, tumor or no tumor. Raine actually testified as an expert on behalf of a rapist murderer, so by Raine's own acts we see what Raine values. Raine chose to defend the scum of the earth rather than helping ordinary people who survived abuse and poverty and who did not turn to violent crime.

Samenow clearly had it right that the criminals are not victims, the criminals are criminals. While Ressler points out that all serial killers suffered severe childhood abuse, I'd imagine Samenow's retort would be most people who suffered severe childhood abuse did not kill anyone.
 

Approaching Infinity

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I think Raine got a twisted lesson from his sister's cancer, viewing criminal behavior in a victim's mentality as medical disease instead of criminal choice. Raine's child molester with a tumor still knew what he was doing was wrong, tumor or no tumor. .
What effect, if any, do you think the tumor had on the man in question?
 

hlat

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What effect, if any, do you think the tumor had on the man in question?
I can't recite what Raine said. I remember the actions, the first time the man molested his step daughter, collected child porn, came on to the hospital staff, and threatened to kill his landlord, the second time his wife caught him with child porn.

I also think Raine was incorrect when he dismissed completely the idea that a person creates his own cancer. I think Gabor Mate and many others have discussed how a person creates disease in his own body.

Not in the books, I think it was a SOTT article, that there was a man who functioned normally even though his brain was basically gone. I think where the brain normally would've been was filled with fluid.
 

Laura

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I can't recite what Raine said. I remember the actions, the first time the man molested his step daughter, collected child porn, came on to the hospital staff, and threatened to kill his landlord, the second time his wife caught him with child porn.

I also think Raine was incorrect when he dismissed completely the idea that a person creates his own cancer. I think Gabor Mate and many others have discussed how a person creates disease in his own body.

Not in the books, I think it was a SOTT article, that there was a man who functioned normally even though his brain was basically gone. I think where the brain normally would've been was filled with fluid.

I think it is not so cut and dried in either direction. As Jonathan Haidt points out, that part of us that "runs the show" mostly, is like an elephant, and the conscious mind is like a very small handler trying to control said elephant. (Read "The Righteous Mind"). It's very difficult to access and control the unconscious/subconscious parts of the body/mind system and usually, we just spend our lives creating narratives to justify what it wants to do. The people who understand this and have systems in place to cope are few and far between and our cultural systems certainly don't help much.

In other words, I have some sympathy for the guy with the brain tumor, but those who don't have any such evident malformations have less "excuse". And yeah, I think that sometimes there are excuses and sometimes there are reasons. I just don't think that we can make rules that are hard and fast across the board ALL the time; we have to consider each situation individually. Of course, without medical science the guy with the tumor would have been judged and condemned without that knowledge and maybe, in the evolutionary scheme of things, that would have been Nature's solution.

Maybe, in the end, that is what it is all about? Evolution. Nowadays, humans are not having to survive in "wild" conditions, but survival is nonetheless being challenged in serious ways.
 

Approaching Infinity

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In other words, I have some sympathy for the guy with the brain tumor, but those who don't have any such evident malformations have less "excuse". And yeah, I think that sometimes there are excuses and sometimes there are reasons. I just don't think that we can make rules that are hard and fast across the board ALL the time; we have to consider each situation individually. Of course, without medical science the guy with the tumor would have been judged and condemned without that knowledge and maybe, in the evolutionary scheme of things, that would have been Nature's solution.
Same here. The impression I got from Raine's book is just that some people have less free will than others, and physical/biological factors play a huge role in that. And it's not as if taking the Raine approach implies that we should just absolve criminals of all responsibility because they couldn't have done otherwise. The very fact that it seems that some can't do otherwise should be an incentive to protect society from them. With the tumor guy, the correlation between his behavior and the tumor seemed very strong. So it would be a mitigating factor. As long as he didn't have a tumor, he wasn't likely to offend. People like that should bear some consequences for their actions, but it's similar to temporary insanity.

It's easy and natural to moralize about crime and criminals, but if you're just moralizing, you can't think and approach each situation individually. Perhaps a crime is so serious that even temporary mitigating factors aren't harsh enough. But if the factors were truly temporary, chances are the person who did the crime would feel remorse and accept a fair punishment. The ones who don't feel remorse can't really be said just to be suffering from temporary mitigating factors on their free will. That points to a more pervasive personality disturbance.
 

Pashalis

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I just don't think that we can make rules that are hard and fast across the board ALL the time; we have to consider each situation individually.
It's easy and natural to moralize about crime and criminals, but if you're just moralizing, you can't think and approach each situation individually.
The above considerations are something very important to keep firmly in mind not only in regards to this specific topic I would say. It is far too easy to make fast and generalizing judgments about human beings. Human beings and reality in general are both far too complex and ever changing to rely on set rules for everything squared into a box in a manner that says that this is black and this is white all the time. It kind of restricts us to a narrow band of reality in which we can easily miss the many shades in between and run the risk of missing the forest for the trees. We can also do more harm then good to others if we are to fixed in that mode.

I think by having the strong tendency to moralize things, we can quickly go overboard and approach things in a far too narrow way based largely on "limiting emotions". One of the most helpful things the C's have given us (among many) is the idea of Assumptions and how this tendency is one of the big characteristics of service to self and that we should strive to be more open and not view everything under that lens. Which is a tall order indeed, but nonetheless we can try to get there step by step.
 

Azur

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This story appears in the Out in the Open episode "Impostors."

How a psychiatry professor accidentally discovered he was a psychopath | CBC Radio


No one told James Fallon he was a psychopath.
Or maybe they had. When he was young, he'd heard again and again from people in positions of authority – a priest, a professor, a friend's father – that there was something off about him. Something dark that they couldn't quite name. But Fallon brushed it off each time.
Many years later, as a professor of psychiatry at the medical school of the University of California, Irvine, Fallon discovered his psychopathic mind for himself.
"I'm a little bit of a snake, but I'm not really a bad guy," Fallon told Out in the Open host Piya Chattopadhyay. "But you don't want to be close to me."
Fallon made the discovery by accident.
In the late 1980s, the university got a PET scanner. Accused murderers were coming into the school to get brain scans done as part of their defences. "They'd come in tied up in manacles," Fallon said. "We'd have these SWAT teams all over the roofs of the medical school."
Over the decades that followed, the school accumulated these brain scans. And as Fallon studied them, he was noticing patterns. Certain areas that light up in normal brains were dark.
"So I said, my god, there's something here." He gave talks on his findings.


Bizarre coincidences


Meanwhile, two other events in his life were converging. "All this happened at the same time," he said. "It was very bizarre."


Lizzie Borden was tried and acquitted for the murders of her father and stepmother in 1892, though she remains infamous. James Fallon discovered that he was distantly related to Borden.
The first coincidence came when his mother told Fallon about a historical book on his father's family. "And there's all these nasty guys in there," he said. People who weren't so different from the murderers he'd been studying.
Thomas Cornell Jr., an early colonial settler who was convicted and hanged for killing his mother, was a direct ancestor. And Lizzie Borden, who was famously tried for the axe murders of her father and stepmother in the late 19th century, was a distant cousin.

The second coincidence came through Alzheimer's research Fallon was conducting. The team had completed brain scans of patients. But they needed a control group. So Fallon put his family members, including himself, under the machines.
And as he was flipping through the pile of his family's scans, he saw one that looked identical to the killers he'd been studying.
"I said, okay guys, really funny. Ha ha." He thought the lab technicians had played a joke on him, slipping a psychopath's scan into the pile with his family. They assured him that this was no joke.
"I said, whoever this person is shouldn't be walking around in society." The psychopathic markers were all there. The parts of the brain that regulate conscience, emotional empathy and inhibition were turned off. "This is probably a very dangerous person."
"Well, I peeled back the tape over the name, and there it was. It was my name."
He laughed it off. He still didn't believe it. He'd never been a violent guy. He was married with kids. He had plenty of friends, and a successful career.
But when he got home and told his wife about it, she said to him: "It doesn't surprise me."


He came around to the idea gradually.
"I just started asking everybody, what do you think of me? I started with my wife, my sister, my brothers, my parents. On and on. All the people close to me, including psychiatrists who I'd worked with for years who really knew me well. They all said – except for my mother, who said 'No, you're a nice boy' – everybody else said, we've been telling you for decades, for years, that you do psychopathic things."
He'd been emotionally unavailable. Reckless. Manipulative. Getting by on charm and what he calls "cognitive empathy" – the ability to understand what others are feeling, without actually feeling it himself.
Assessments by his colleagues were what really convinced him. His brain scans, genetic markers and behaviours all pointed toward borderline psychopathy. If a cold-blooded killer is formed through both nature and nurture, Fallon's nature suggested he was capable of terrible things. Perhaps a lack of childhood trauma had prevented him from acting on his violent instincts, he thought.


'What would a good guy do?'

Fallon now describes himself as a "pro-social" psychopath. He's not out to prey on people. And his psychopathic tendencies are relatively benign.
Driven by what he describes as ego, Fallon put a challenge to himself: try pretending to be a nice, normal, emotionally connected guy. He'd start with his wife.
"Every time something came up where I was interacting with her socially, I just asked myself, 'What would a good guy do?'" Whereas in the past he might have made up an excuse to, for example, ditch her uncle's funeral and head down to the beach bar, he was now going to try doing right by her, despite his nature.
When she caught on that a sudden kindness had come over him, he assured her: "Don't take it seriously. It's just an experiment." But nice is nice. She didn't seem to mind.
"Strangers are very safe around me," he said. "It's when you get close to me that it's a little more dangerous, because I'm going to get you to do something you don't want to do.
"So, I'm trying to control that. I figure if I tell everybody I have this, then I can't get away with anything any more."
 
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