Thinking, Fast And Slow

EmeraldHope

The Living Force
obyvatel said:
EmeraldHope said:
I agree that it was not a normal swing down, but the swing up was not normal either. So I still see it as regression for now.

\It is possible. However, something to keep in mind is that in general, the regression to the mean concept assumes randomness. Over a large enough field of observation, random factors tend to balance out. If there are identifiable causal factors that come into the picture, then application of the regression to the mean concept may not be valid. In this instance, if there are causal factors (like an orchestrated controlled burn by the PTB) which have started the economy on an overall downward spiral, then the old accepted "mean" would not be a valid point of reference anymore to apply the regression concept.


I am going to go out on a limb here and respond to this. As it is said here, one cannot change the way one thinks with the way one thinks. I am very weak in logic and reason on an academic level as I never studied it, except what I have been exposed to here. So , any help to getting on the right track if I am off would be appreciated, as I am really trying to learn.


On the one hand, I agree with you. In poker, if the game is "rigged" the statistics will not hold up and it will become obvious something is wrong. But, if we view the machinations of the powers that be over a larger sample size, there are also identifiable causal factors,, and we have to see an overall picture in which changed the "old accepted mean". For instance, Bretton Woods in 1913 and the coming off of the gold standard in the early 70's. Both were game changers. Both affected the "real " economy.


The larger the sample size, the better. So if we look at the mean as larger than just the last 10 years, shoot, let's call it 200 years, I think we do see a reversal to the mean. Or we can take it back 100's of years. We can call the mean for the majority feudalism or debt slavery, it does not matter. From a larger sample size, we are truly reverting back to a mean.


I would say in a very large sample size, there has always been short term rigging events and the mean over a larger sample size is as described in the last paragraph.



edit- removed odd size text from last paragraph.
 

Laura

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Keep in mind that this guy is obviously a Darwinist/materialist and he will interpret everything in that context. Even though he plainly says that our system 1 processes of making connections and predictions was evolutionarily adaptive, he doesn't really grok what that can mean in the larger sense. He thinks it is all about just material processes. Yes, it is true that system 1, programmed by a pathological society, can make some big mistakes and cause us problems, he doesn't seem to figure out that it could be programmed differently.
 

mb

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obyvatel said:
...I am not a finance person in any way - but my opinion is that what happened in the financial sector cannot be explained by a simple regression to the mean concept. It was not part of normal up and down swings which usually affect the sector.

Based on what we read on sott and elsewhere, we would say that the probability was high that the collapse would occur...

We could see that "a" collapse would occur. Somewhere, sometime. We could not and did not fill in the many details. You would be better off asking a mathematician than a "finance person" about it.

A better example might be the consequences of Bush's 2003 Iraq war. I was able to fill in some of the details about what would happen from that one from my reading; many people did. But when you consider the total population and not just the few that could see through what was going on, it's not really that different from the other situation. The Challenger disaster is another well-examined situation where someone foresaw the possible outcome in some detail. Afterward, it was clear that somebody should have listened.

But that is hindsight. Before, no one really knew what would happen, and under those circumstances people decided differently. I think it is useful and honest to acknowledge that we have such a limitation. Other authors have examined this phenomenon as well. I don't have references, unfortunately, because I read most books as audiobooks.
 

EmeraldHope

The Living Force
Laura said:
Keep in mind that this guy is obviously a Darwinist/materialist and he will interpret everything in that context. Even though he plainly says that our system 1 processes of making connections and predictions was evolutionarily adaptive, he doesn't really grok what that can mean in the larger sense. He thinks it is all about just material processes. Yes, it is true that system 1, programmed by a pathological society, can make some big mistakes and cause us problems, he doesn't seem to figure out that it could be programmed differently.


Thank you , Laura. Am I correct in understanding this as the line of force for the book? If so, this is what I need to get better at identifying. If I had identified this, then I could have answered my own question. Are there any books or material that help in learning to identify this? I do it on basic levels, like creative or entropic, for example, but when faced with what could be either and not a lot of factal knowledge to work with I do not trust myself to say for sure what the line of force is.
 

Psalehesost

The Living Force
I've been reading some wholly unrelated material, Assimilative Memory (old book now in public domain, can be found on archive.org. a good book in itself, but in mentioning it I'll also note that much in it was plagiarized, and so I'll mention "Loisette" Exposed, which refers to and quotes from the original sources). This book deals mainly with memorization by analyzing words (noting connections between them), as opposed to rote memorization which does not engage "the intellect" (ie. System 2). I was struck by its comments on mind-wandering, which include:
Hence we see that what is accomplished by [...] rote learning is weak impressions upon the memory and a distinct cultivation of mind wandering.

In rote memorization, no System 2 effort being involved - and in fact, it being prevented by the very method - all one does is to attempt blindly to store sensory impressions (sight, sound) of the material learned - in the hopes that something will "stick" for a little while, perhaps because System 1 sometimes manages to build some connections behind the scenes.

Anyhow, it struck me that school is all about rote memorization - and this seems to go hand in hand with entrenching the laziness of System 2 - stunting its attention and focus. It is trained to wander in low-effort mode ("mind wandering") by years of rote learning which by its very nature prevents focused attention and effortful analysis.

Seems perfect for stunting the thinking capabilities of a populace - and leaving them more suggestible, as System 1, by its nature, believes everything it perceives, and System 2 "gains" the habit of mind-wandering, which prevents it from being "present" in order to actively question things.
 

whitecoast

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I found an interesting blog post by this buddhist physician, who actually mentioned Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow and described a useful technique to help overcome the biases inherent in System One, by using well-articulated questions that gently bridge the gap between the two systems, and encourage greater communication between the two.

_http://www.happinessinthisworld.com/2012/04/01/how-to-ask-the-right-questions/#.T3visVQS05Y

How To Ask The Right Questions

Our minds are simply not to be trusted. As Daniel Kahneman wrote in his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, we’re all at the mercy of a voluminous set of cognitive biases that distort our thinking: we routinely ignore evidence that contradicts our preexisting beliefs, we think anecdotally rather than statistically, we’re overly influenced by even brief messages that are unrelated to a question we’re asked to consider, and we routinely exaggerate the effect of changed circumstances on our future well-being, to name just a few of the ways our thinking goes wrong. In short, it’s amazing that we ever get anything right at all.

But we do. Despite all the ways our thinking goes wrong, many of us still manage to lead successful, happy lives. What explains this apparent contradiction? I would suggest two things: first, though many of us may find happiness despite operating under the influence of cognitive bias, the less influenced by such biases we are the happier we’re able to become (acting and reacting to the way things are rather than the way we mistakenly believe them to be leads to better decision-making, for example). And second, many of us have discovered a simple technique that reduces the influence of our biases and employ it regularly: we ask questions.

It’s not that we’re incapable of escaping our biases. It’s that it takes effort to do so. Fast thinking, according to Kahneman, which is easy, is also hugely biased. Slow thinking, which is hard, is less so. One key to engaging in slow thinking is to constantly question the conclusions of our fast selves.

Not that it isn’t hard. And not that I’m recommending we question everything. That wouldn’t only be utterly exhausting but also entirely unnecessary (“do I really need to brush my teeth now?”). Instead, I’m offering the same advice I offer to physicians-in-training: avoid the danger of coming to early closure when considering a symptom complex by always asking yourself what else could cause your patient’s symptoms when getting the right answer matters. (Sometimes, believe it or not, it doesn’t matter as when, for example, I don’t know what’s causing a patient’s foot pain, but I know it isn’t dangerous, it’s improving on its own, and Tylenol makes it feel better.)

Asking myself the next question is a technique I’ve found helps me reduce the influence of my cognitive biases. By slowing myself down and challenging my assumptions, holding fast to the idea that what I think is the obvious answer may not be, I often find flaws in my reasoning that weren’t at first apparent. It’s a laborious process, but if I want my conclusions (and therefore my actions) to have the greatest chance of being good ones, there’s no other way to go. Luckily, I like reexamining my thinking (I don’t so much like other people doing it, I have to confess, so I try to do it for them).

The benefit of this method is that it’s simple, mostly (though not entirely) obviating the need to recognize just which biases may be tripping us up. The key is having the attitude that the faster we come to a conclusion the more likely it is that our biases have brought us to it and therefore the more likely it is to be wrong. Once we think we have the right answer and are done thinking, we need to ask ourselves if there are any considerations we’ve left out, if there are entirely different ways to think about the question before us, or if the answer might not be something else entirely, even the exact opposite of the one we’ve accepted as true. For when we pause to question our first assumptions, they often crumble like a house without a foundation.

One thing that helps is maintaining a continual, healthy dose of skepticism about everything. We should be especially interested in questioning ideas everyone accepts as unquestionably true. It may require a certain amount of scorn for peer pressure, as well as a willingness to be wrong oneself—but being wrong oneself has a hidden benefit: it teaches us to cling to ideas loosely. Even though we can’t prevent ourselves from becoming overly attached to our own ideas, if we make a habit of remembering that everything we think may actually be wrong and fight to prevent ourselves from becoming too invested in being right, we can keep our minds open to the process of continually questioning everything. Though life may be too short to do this all the time with literally everything, it will help keep us open to doing it when we should. Because to dismiss even a modicum of doubt without exploring it fully may just be to cheat us out of discoveries that lead to improvements in our lives we hadn’t imagined were possible.
 
A

abeofarrell

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Am loving this book but there is just so much in here and it is such a large volume. I have made my way through about a quarter and now am taking a break.
 

Thomas Alan

The Living Force
abeofarrell said:
Am loving this book but there is just so much in here and it is such a large volume. I have made my way through about a quarter and now am taking a break.

I've been working on this book as well. "You're Not So Smart" helps me too see how little many of my beliefs are based on. Some are just plain wrong.

TF&S is much more detailed in showing how lazy I have become in checking what I thought was reliable "intuition". There have been times in my life when I made great efforts to challenge and research strongly held beliefs. But it is so easy to slip back into accepting my first thoughts on important matters. Our first thought on a solution to any problem is only the starting point. From there effort and learning are the only thing that bring us closer to the truth.

The new 5 (or six) books really get to heart of how our systems really operate.

Mac
 

whitecoast

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Dr Khaneman recently was interviews by Der Spiegle about his book Thinking: Fast and Slow. It contains a lot of good information that summarizes a lot of the work presents in the book, osit.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/zeitgeist/interview-with-daniel-kahneman-on-the-pitfalls-of-intuition-and-memory-a-834407.html
 

obyvatel

The Living Force
One thing to keep in mind regarding intuition is that Kahneman's views on it is affected by the scope of the fields in which he does research as well as the quality of individuals being sampled.

Dabrowski's definition of intuition states that intuition appears at higher levels of human development and is a synthesizing function which combines emotional, intellectual and instinctive components. Majority of human population today is stuck at the level of primary integration in Dabrowski's scale and at that level authentic intuition is absent. Also Dabrowski treats intuition as a major component in creative work. The quantity of truly creative people is statistically small and they would either not show up at all or will not have any statistical significance in the experiments done by Kahneman and other scientists.
 

Mariama

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I have ordered Kahneman's book and watched his talk on TED.

I am glad that you spoke about the person Kahneman, so I know what I can expect. For instance what Laura talked about: the difference between Pennebaker and Kahneman.
Also, thanks obyvatel for your last post here.

obyvatel said:
One thing to keep in mind regarding intuition is that Kahneman's views on it is affected by the scope of the fields in which he does research as well as the quality of individuals being sampled.

Dabrowski's definition of intuition states that intuition appears at higher levels of human development and is a synthesizing function which combines emotional, intellectual and instinctive components. Majority of human population today is stuck at the level of primary integration in Dabrowski's scale and at that level authentic intuition is absent. Also Dabrowski treats intuition as a major component in creative work. The quantity of truly creative people is statistically small and they would either not show up at all or will not have any statistical significance in the experiments done by Kahneman and other scientists.

This is an important fact IMO.
 

Mike

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I'm doing a research project in part based on the Dual Process Theory of cognition (System 1 and System 2 thinking) and after digging around and reading some of the published studies in journals that Kahneman notes I ran into another prominent thinker in this area and a book he published that I will order (or ask as a X-mas present since it is pricey :mad:) since it looks interesting. No reviews yet on amazon, but might be worth the price and time.

Thinking Twice: Two minds in one brain [Hardcover]
Jonathan St BT Evans

http://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Twice-Two-minds-brain/dp/0199547297/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pC_S_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=18Z1ZZ3QDCZX&coliid=IYD19KZA3QN0E

Common sense would suggest that we are in complete control of the actions we perform - that all our actions are the result of considered and conscious preparation. Yet, there are countless examples of this control breaking down, for example, in the case of phobias and compulsive actions. We can all recall those times when, in the 'heat of the moment', our actions have been very different to those that would have resulted from calm and considered reflection. In extreme moments of 'absent-mindedness' our actions can even have castastrophic consequences, resulting in harm to ourselves or others. So why does this happen - why do apparently rational and intelligent beings make, what appear to be, such fundamental errors in their thinking.

This book explores the idea that humans have two distinct minds within their brains: one intuitive and the other reflective. The intuitive mind is old, evolved early, and shares many of its features with animal cognition. It is the source of emotion and intuitions, and reflects both the habits acquired in our lifetime and the adaptive behaviours evolved by ancient ancestors.

The reflective mind, by contrast, is recently evolved and distinctively human: it enables us to think in abstract and hypothetical ways about the world around us and to calculate the future consequences of our actions. The evolution of the new, reflective mind is linked with the development of language and the very large forebrains that distinguish humans from other species; it has also given us our unique human form of intelligence. On occasions though, our two minds can come into in conflict, and when this happens, the old mind often wins. These conflicts are often rationalised so that we, conscious persons, are unaware that the intuitive mind is in control.

Written by a leading cognitive scientist, this book demonstrates how much of our behaviour is controlled by automatic and intuitive mental processes, which shape, as well as compete, with our conscious thinking and decision making. Accessibly written, and assuming no prior knowledge of the field, the book will be fascinating reading for all those interested in human behaviour, including students and researchers in psychology, neuroscience, and philosophy.
 

Laura

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Thanks, Bear! Another to add to the pile. Still another that I think has been mentioned already somewhere is "The Tell-Tale Brain A Neuroscientist's Quest for What Makes Us Human" by V. S. Ramachandran. Its well-written, informative, funny and entertaining.

V. S. Ramachandran is at the forefront of his field-so much so that Richard Dawkins dubbed him the "Marco Polo of neuroscience." Now, in a major new work, Ramachandran sets his sights on the mystery of human uniqueness. Taking us to the frontiers of neurology, he reveals what baffling and extreme case studies can teach us about normal brain function and how it evolved. Synesthesia becomes a window into the brain mechanisms that make some of us more creative than others. And autism—for which Ramachandran opens a new direction for treatment—gives us a glimpse of the aspect of being human that we understand least: self-awareness. Ramachandran tackles the most exciting and controversial topics in neurology with a storyteller's eye for compelling case studies and a researcher's flair for new approaches to age-old questions. Tracing the strange links between neurology and behavior, this book unveils a wealth of clues into the deepest mysteries of the human brain.

Starred Review. Ramachandran (A Brief Tour of Human Consciousness), director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at UCSD, explores why humans, who are "anatomically, neurologically and genetically, physiologically apes," are not "merely" apes. While animals can communicate with sound and gesture, and chimpanzees can even use words to express immediate needs, humans have developed the ability to speak in structurally complex sentences, and often speak in metaphor. Ramachandran speculates that, as we can map another's actions and intuit their thoughts, we also map our own sensory apparatus, perceiving our surroundings—and perceiving ourselves perceiving our surroundings. We imagine the future and speculate about the past and seek to understand our place in the universe, laying the foundation for our the sense of free will; we not only envisage future actions, but are aware of their potential consequences and the responsibility for our choices. Richard Dawkins has called Ramachandran "the Marco Polo of neuroscience," and with good reason. He offers a fascinating explanation of cutting-edge-neurological research that deepens our understanding of the relationship between the perceptions of the mind and the workings of the brain.
 

Zadius Sky

The Living Force
Bear said:
I'm doing a research project in part based on the Dual Process Theory of cognition (System 1 and System 2 thinking) and after digging around and reading some of the published studies in journals that Kahneman notes I ran into another prominent thinker in this area and a book he published that I will order (or ask as a X-mas present since it is pricey :mad:) since it looks interesting. No reviews yet on amazon, but might be worth the price and time.

Thinking Twice: Two minds in one brain [Hardcover]
Jonathan St BT Evans

Good grief! That's pricey. $90 for used, $50 for new.

I've just requested for a Kindle version, which may be cheaper than a hard copy. Hopefully, they'll have that out soon.

Here's the review by Yuichi Amitani in journal Philosophy in Review, XXXII (2012), no. 3 (_journals.uvic.ca/index.php/pir/article/download/11366/3084):

Jonathan St. B. T. Evans
Thinking Twice: Two Minds in One Brain.
Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press 2011.
244 pages
US$59.95 (cloth ISBN 978-0-19-954729-6)

Jonathan St. B. T. Evans is one of the founders of the so-called dual process theory in cognitive and social psychology. In a number of papers published in professional journals, he has made significant contributions to the development of the theory. In Thinking Twice: Two Minds in One Brain, he presented this theory for more general readers. To this end, he surveys the literature in a wide range of subjects from cognitive and social psychology to cognitive neuroscience to evolutionary psychology to philosophy of mind, and he draws the results from them into a unified picture.

This is not a book just for a novice to the theory, however. Even for those familiar with it, reading Thinking Twice would be a rewarding experience. This is because Evans did considerable conceptual work to formulate the theory. One example is the "system" talk of the dual process theory. The theory has been generally described in terms of systems: the human mind has two systems, System 1 and System 2. System 1 is activated when we engage in unconscious and quick-and-dirty thinking, but it takes only little time and cognitive resources. System 2, on the other hand, is activated when we engage in a conscious, deliberative thinking, but it consumes significantly more time and cognitive resources. However, Evans no longer believes that our mind is divided into two systems (218). Although he does say that there are two types of processes (type-1 and type-2 processes, sharing many phenomenological features with so-called System 1 and System 2, respectively), he points out that we often use both types of processes in the "reflective" (≈ System 2) thinking.

Dropping "system" talk, Evans employs "mind" talk to describe his account of mind. He represents our mind as the place where two minds reside: the intuitive and the reflective mind. Since the reflective mind is something added to the intuitive mind during the course of evolution, he also refers to the intuitive and reflective minds as "old" and "new" minds. The working of the intuitive mind is primarily done by type-1 processes, which are close to what evolutionary psychologists call modules. The working of the reflective mind is characterized by various type-2 processes, in particular working memory, although both types of processes are certainly involved. In some sense Evans' classificatory framework is broader and bolder in scope than system talk (219), but he takes this as a strength of the theory, because he believes that system talk leads us to an oversimplified view of both minds.

For another example of conceptual clarification, Evans declines to use some familiar phenomenological properties, including quickness, to characterize type-1 and type-2 processes. Look at his criticism of recent positive evaluations of "gut feeling" or quick decision-making in popular media and some professional journals (Chapter 5). There are a variety of cognitive biases such as the framing effect and the outcome and hindsight biases, which let us make suboptimal decision/reasoning. However, people like Malcolm Gladwell and Gerd Gigerenzer recently claim that following gut feeling or "fast and frugal" heuristics does let us make an optimal decision. Evans objects that some of the so-called "intuitive" judgments described in their writings are actually under control of the reflective mind. He also brings our attention to the fact that the cases Gladwell depicts in his book are ideal cases for intuitive judgment—multiple cue judgments with relevant experiential learning (imagine an experienced doctor using different examinations to diagnose a patient)—and when those conditions are not met, the intuitive mind would easily fall prey to various biases, as in probability judgments (100-04).

Confabulation is another important topic discussed throughout this book. It has been objected that the dual process theorists characterize the reflective mind only as giving normative answers in the "heuristics and biases" experiments (cf., N-E. Sahlin, A. Wallin, and J. Persson, "Decision Science: From Ramsey to Dual Process Theories" Synthese 172 [2010]: 129-43.). In confabulation, however, the reflective mind merely cooks up a false reason for the output produced by the intuitive mind. This occurs when a subject of the selection task gives a "reason" for their choice when they are in fact under the matching bias (175), as when an alcoholic describes herself as a "social" drinker to justify her behavior (194). In cases like these, the reflective mind helps us behave suboptimally.

This, then, is how Evans makes considerable efforts to resolve the ambiguities of the dual process (or two minds) theory. Unfortunately, this does not mean that a reader will have a sufficiently clear picture of it after reading the book. The concern is this. Evans presents his account in three ways. Each way has strengths and weaknesses. But he places little emphasis upon a fourth possible way.

Evans largely represents his theory in three different ways. i) He contrasts the two minds theory with the chief executive model, a folk theory of mind that we have only one (conscious) mind which always controls our behavior though explicit mental representations (3). ii) He describes the theory phenomenologically, that is, from the surface properties the subjects' thinking exhibits, such as effortfulness and explicitness. iii) He also discusses mental mechanisms behind those surface properties, such as working memory and particular brain regions.

We cannot rely solely on "i" to support the two minds theory. Although there is strong evidence against the chief executive model (171), it may be a false dichotomy, because the two minds theory is not the only alternative to the model. As for "ii," one may easily identify which mind is currently at work with a list of property-pairs, but mindless application of the list is not a reliable method to identify the kind of mind, as the some of the "intuitive" decisions described by Gladwell and Gigerenzer are in fact a feat of the reflective mind. In respect of "iii," specifying underlying mechanisms behind the two minds is more reliable and promising. This is why Evans cites the studies on implicit and explicit memory systems (Chapter 3) and neurological studies (178-81). But the correlation between phenomenology and underlying mechanisms is not perfect, as the explicit belief system is activated even in belief bias. In addition, data on such a mechanism are not always available. Evans himself seems to draw on phenomenology when he discusses pathological gambling (192-5).

Perhaps we may define the two minds in terms of their functions. This is to define the two minds in terms of the (possibly adaptive) problems they are designed to solve. The intuitive mind is to solve swiftly the problems one encounters routinely in the environment. The reflective mind is to solve novel, important, and complex problems while using many resources. This conception of the two minds theory has a virtue: one does not need to show that there is a strict correspondence between neurological mechanisms and each mind to claim there are two minds, because a striking feature of a functional kind is its multiple realizability (think of money). One should notice, however, that to adopt this functional conception of the two minds is not to return to the crude phenomenological conception. If one mindlessly uses the list of familiar property-pairs to identify the nature of a behavior, one might mistake the quick use of the reflective mind—such as confabulation and fast and frugal heuristics—as products of the intuitive mind. But if the reflective mind costs more in resources to solve a novel problem, and if we are designed to save cognitive resources whenever possible, it comes as no surprise that we often use the reflective mind minimally, e.g., to give a lazy justification to the conduct of the intuitive mind. And I believe that Evans is (consciously or unconsciously) aware of this interpretation when he calls the two minds "old" and "new," because this is not about the time period per se when the second mind was added. Addition of the new mind reflects an environmental change our hominid ancestors went through during their evolution; we faced changing (social or physical) environments where we encountered novel adaptive tasks that the intuitive mind alone could not solve.

While there is room for further clarification on the account Evens presents, I still believe that this book is the best case currently available for the dual process theory. One can find a couple of books on the same subject for general readers, such as Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow (New York, NY: Farrar, Straus & Giroux 2011). A reader of Thinking Twice, however, will find that Evans strikes just the right balance between readability and conceptual rigor. This is why I strongly recommend this book to anyone, whether a psychologist or not, who is interested in the dual process theory. (I am very grateful to Nils-Eric Sahlin for his comments on an earlier draft.)

Yuichi Amitani
University of Pittsburgh

Thanks for pointing out this book, as I'll see if I can check it out. Thanks, Laura, for recommending another book to look at.
 
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