ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B


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    Reports of Empirical Studies
    The role of masking stimulation in target recognition processing: Evidence from fNIRS
    YANG Haibo,LIU Hejun,ZHANG Peng,LI Liang
    2019, 51 (11):  1187-1197.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01187
    Abstract ( 4380 )  

    When our visual system processes target signals, it usually receives large amounts of irrelevant information from the target, leading to a reduction in the visibility of the target. A wealth of research has shown that visual search for target letters against a masking background is largely determined by the masker type. Informational maskers, such as either randomly positioned and oriented letters or randomly distributed letter fragments, induce stronger masking effects on recognition of target letters than the energetic maskers do, such as the random-phase masker (same spectral amplitude composition as the letter masker but with the phase spectrum randomized) or the random-pixel masker (the locations of the letter maskers’ pixel amplitudes being randomized). However, the mechanisms under informational masking and those under energetic masking are still unknown.

    The current study examined both cortical activities and behavioral performances in the visual search task, which is determined by whether one of four letters presented at four symmetrically-located positions differs from the others under three masking conditions (random pixels, letter fragments, and random letters). Both the oxygenated hemoglobin concentration (HbO) responses in the primary visual cortex (V1) and secondary visual cortex (V2) with a functional near infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) were recorded. Twenty (4 males, 16 females) healthy adults (mean age: 22.5 ± 1.67 years) participated in the experiment. Each masking condition contained 5 blocks, and each block contained 8 trails. There was a resting phase of 20 seconds between the two blocks. Spatial registration methods were applied to localize the cortical regions underneath each channel and to define two regions of interest (ROIs), which are the primary visual cortex (V1) and secondary visual cortex (V2).

    The behavioral results showed that the performance of recognizing target letters improved when the masker type shifted from random letters to letter fragments and to random pixels, suggesting that the letter masker interfered the most with performance than the letter fragment and random-pixel maskers. The random-pixel masker caused the least masking effect. The fNIRS results showed that both letter masker and letter-fragment masker produced an increase in cortical oxygen level. Many regions of interest (ROIs), particularly the visual cortex (including V1 and V2), were more activated under the letter or the letter-fragment masking condition compared to the random-pixel masking condition. Moreover, the differences in cortical activation between the masking conditions further suggested that the V1 and V2 are the critical brain regions involved in visual letter search and informational masking of letter recognition.

    To summarize, this study used fNIRS to explore the cortex activation patterns of different types of masking on target recognition. The results showed that information masking had much more interference on visual search and caused greater processing loads in primary and secondary visual cortex, compared with energy masking under the same conditions. Furthermore, the differences between letter fragments masking and letters masking are reflected in the activation mode of V1 and V2 regions.

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    Local context dependence in feedback evaluation: An ERP study
    ZHU Shuqing, ZHAI Yu, JIA Shiwei
    2019, 51 (11):  1198-1207.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01198
    Abstract ( 2126 )   PDF (1322KB) ( 4 )  

    Previous research has indicated that feedback evaluation depends on its embedded context, and feedback related negativity (FRN) is also context-dependent. However, it is still disputed whether feedback evaluation merely relies on the global context (the range of all possible outcomes in a block) or also on the local context (the range of possible outcomes on a given trial). Thus, the current study investigated whether the context-dependent effect could be extended from the global context to the local context. We assumed that if feedback evaluation is in a global context-dependent manner, then all non-reward feedback in a given block should elicit a related negativity; however, if feedback evaluation is in a local context-dependent manner, then a related negativity should be discovered for the relative unfavorable feedback compared to the relative favorable feedback in a given trial context.

    In this study, twenty-five healthy participants (17 females; Mage = 21.96 years old) performed a cued time-estimation task while EEG was recorded. Gain (a “+” surrounded with a circle)/loss (a “-” surrounded with a circle) cues were presented trial-by-trial at the beginning of each trial to indicate the context of this trial. Participants needed to estimate one second and then received factual feedback in accordance with their performance. In the gain context, correct and incorrect responses resulted in gain (+ ¥4; gain-favorable feedback) and no-gain (¥0; gain-unfavorable feedback), separately. In the loss context, correct and incorrect responses resulted in no-loss (¥0; loss-favorable feedback) and loss (- ¥4; loss-unfavorable feedback), separately.

    The behavioral results indicated that larger trial-to-trial changes in time estimation were observed after relative unfavorable feedback than relative favorable feedback. The ERP results revealed that more negative FRN occurred after relative unfavorable feedback than relative favorable feedback in both the gain and loss contexts. In addition, there was no significant difference between gain-favorable and loss-favorable feedback or between gain-unfavorable and loss-unfavorable feedback. In addition, gain-unfavorable feedback elicited a more negative FRN than loss-favorable feedback, although, in fact, both were zero-value feedback.

    The above results indicate that feedback evaluation relies on the local context. Based on the previous literature, we infer that the task and facticity of feedback are key factors giving rise to the discrepancies of the results between the previous studies and the current study. In passive tasks (i.e., the participants do not need to react), the good-bad binary evaluation of FRN cannot be observed as well as the context dependence effect. In active tasks with false feedback, global context dependence is found. In active tasks with factual feedback, the context dependence extends to the local level.

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    Optimization and asymmetry effects of reward and punishment on control attention: Evidence from eye movements
    ZHANG Kuo, ZHAO Ying, WANG Jingxin,
    2019, 51 (11):  1207-1219.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01207
    Abstract ( 4934 )   PDF (505KB) ( 3 )  

    A wealth of research shows that positive and negative reinforcement critically influence behavior. While it is well established that rewards and penalties can strongly influence mechanisms of executive control, it is unclear whether these two factors exert symmetric or qualitatively distinct behavioral effects. In the current research, we conducted two eye-movement experiments to investigate the influence of monetary reward or punishment on attentional control. We employed these cues in Pro/Anti-saccade tasks in Experiment 1 and Go/No-go tasks in Experiment 2. Crucially, we investigated how either a reward (also referred to as “gain”) or penalty (also referred to as “loss”) influenced inhibitory control in the following trial.

    In Experiment 1, participants were instructed to produce simple pro-saccades or more difficult anti-saccades, in conditions in which they received a reward for correct responses or a punishment for incorrect responses or either a reward or punishment. The results showed that, while the accuracy of the pro-saccades was facilitated by reward, the accuracy of the anti-saccades was facilitated by punishment. And the velocity of pro-saccades and anti-saccades were significantly improved by both reward and punishment. In Experiment 2, we further adopted the Go/No-go tasks to explore how reward and punishment affect attentional control via exogenous parafoveal visual cues. This showed essentially the same pattern of effects as Experiment 1. For the Go task, saccade latency significantly decreased when rewards were given relative to punishment or no motivation conditions. And for the No-go task, accuracy increased more in the punishment condition compared to the reward or no motivation conditions. An increase in saccade velocity was observed in the no motivation condition, similarly to in Experiment 1.

    In sum, the overall results suggest that both reward and punishment can facilitate the oculomotor control, although the findings reveal a striking asymmetry in the effects of the reward and punishment on behavior. Specifically, positive reinforcement appears to improve approach behaviors, while punishment influences inhibitory behavior. These findings suggest that the two forms of reinforcement are distinct in their influence on behavior.

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    Influence of expectations on human path integration
    ZHANG Weiwei,HUANG Jianping,WAN Xiaoang
    2019, 51 (11):  1219-1228.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01219
    Abstract ( 1613 )  

    Path integration refers to a type of navigation in which navigators integrate information regarding self-motion in order to update the spatial relationship between themselves and the starting point of their journey. Human path integration has been often assessed via a path completion task in which the participants travel along several segments and then attempt to directly return to the origin of an outbound path. Previous research has revealed the influence of non-sensory factors on human path integration, such as memory, previous experience, target knowledge, and route decision-making. It remains unclear, however, how individuals’ expectations regarding the outbound paths influence their return-to-origin behavior.

    In the present study, we used head-mounted display virtual reality to present hallway mazes and provided different instructions to 3 groups of participants in order to manipulate their expectations concerning the correct homing distance (i.e., the Euclidean distance between the starting and ending points of an outbound path) before they performed the path completion task. Specifically, the 3 groups were informed that the number of segments of each outbound path was positively correlated, negatively correlated, or uncorrelated with the correct homing distance. In actuality, we used an orthogonal design to make the correct homing distance uncorrelated to the number of segments.

    The results revealed that the participants exhibited less accurate return-to-origin responses when their expectations concerning the correct homing distance were violated, compared to when these expectations were confirmed by the actual experiences. When the participants expected the correct homing distance to be positively correlated with the number of segments, they showed even greater errors for more complex outbound paths than those who expected a negative correlation. That being said, it should also be noted that all participants’ return-to-origin responses were subject to the influence of the number of segments and correct homing distance, even though only one group of participants was instructed to have valid expectations.

    Taken together, these results demonstrate the influence of expectation on human path integration, although only having valid expectations cannot eliminate the influence of path properties on path integration. Moreover, individuals may rely more on expectation for more complex outbound paths. These findings therefore highlight the important roles that non-perceptual factors play in human path integration, and demonstrate that human path integration is an adaptive and strategic process.

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    Categorical perception of color is significant both in the right visual field and the left: Evidence from Naxi speakers and Mandarin speakers
    XIE Shushu, ZHANG Jijia, ZHU Jun
    2019, 51 (11):  1229-1243.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01229
    Abstract ( 1802 )   PDF (2084KB) ( 14 )  

    Categorical perception (CP) effect indicates that people are faster and more accurately at discriminating between two colors from different categories than two colors from the same category, even when between- and within-category chromatic separation sizes are equated. CP effect is an important evidence for the controversy between Sapir-Whorf hypothesis and the Universal Evolution theory (UE). The Sapir-Whorf hypothesis holds that CP is language-driven. They found that CP is left-lateralized and is disrupted by verbal, but not by nonverbal interference task. Moreover, the language-driven CP also got support from cross-language researches and neurophysiological studies. However, the Universal Evolution theory (UE) holds that CP effect results from universal focal colors and is independent from language. The current study presented three experiments that replicated and extended the earlier studies by using the same task but different participants. We compared green-blue discrimination of Chinese Naxi ethnic who speaks Naxi language and Chinese Han ethnic who speaks Mandarin. The two ethnics have different semantic boundaries of green-blue.

    There are three experiments in the current study. In experiment 1, Participants were given a visual search task that required them to detect a single target color among 11 identical distracters. The stimuli were two colors G1 and G2 from green category (Munsell 7.5G and 7.5BG) and two colors B1 and B2 from blue category (Munsell 2.5BG and 2.5B). Four colors formed a graded series from green to blue, with the green-blue boundary falling between G2 and B1. In the visual search task, each stimulus display consisted of a ring of colored squares surrounding a central fixation marker. All squares were of the same color except the target. Participants were asked to press “F” or “J” key as soon and correctly as possible to indicate whether the target was in the left or right side of the circle. Experiment 2 was to ensure that the difference between the two groups in experiment 1 was not due to the slow reaction of the Naxi people to all colors. In experiment 3 block 1, participants were asked to finish green-blue visual search task and nonverbal interference task at the same time, and visual search task and verbal interference task in block 2.

    Reaction time and accuracy of the visual search task showed that: 1) It was more difficult for the Naxi speakers, who always use the same word to express green and blue, to discriminate green and blue than the Mandarin speakers; 2) The categorical perception (CP) effect was found both in Naxi and Mandarin speakers. CP of Naxi speakers is probably related to their using similar-color objects to describe different colors in green-blue category; 3) The CP of Naxi and Mandarin speakers are both significant in the right visual field (RVF) and the left visual field (LVF). Moreover, the CP in the LVF was disrupted by the secondary task that engaged spatial working memory. Both the CP in the LVF and the CP in the RVF was disrupted by the verbal interference task. These results indicate that the CP in the LVF is related to the fact that Naxi and Mandarin language activates the right hemisphere.

    All the findings reported here provide a more complex possible explanation of CP. Firstly, Naxi speakers were significantly more difficult to discriminate green and blue than Mandarin speakers. It supports the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis that language affects color perception. Secondly, CP appeared notably both in Naxi speakers and Mandarin speakers. It showed the online language effect on color perception, and supported universal category perception as well. Thirdly, CP was found both in the RVF and LVF. Moreover, CP in the LVF was disrupted by the pattern-memory task, and CP in the LVF and RVF were both disrupted by the verbal task. The results support the perspective combining the Universal Evolution theory (UE) and the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis.

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    The cumulative effects and relationship model of developmental assets used to reduce adolescent externalizing behaviors
    CHANG Shumin, ZHANG Liya, WANG Lingxiao
    2019, 51 (11):  1244-1255.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01244
    Abstract ( 2771 )   PDF (2596KB) ( 4 )  

    Adolescent externalizing behaviors as a general and persistent form of maladaptiveness have received widespread attention. In the past, research in the field of developmental psychology has focused more on the impact of risk factors on adolescent externalizing behaviors. Although these studies had an important role in reducing these behaviors, focusing on positive factors not only can reduce adolescent externalizing behaviors, but can also replace externalizing behaviors by promoting the development of positive behaviors. In recent years, studies have begun to examine the impact of positive factors on adolescent externalizing behaviors, and have identified multiple positive factors in the prevention of these behaviors. Few studies, however, have explored the accumulative impact of positive factors on adolescent externalizing behaviors. Concerning this topic, the developmental assets model provided us with an ideal research tool. Based on this model, the present study used a longitudinal study design to examine the cumulative effects of multiple developmental assets on adolescent externalizing behaviors. In addition, this investigation also examined the relationship model between cumulative developmental assets and externalizing behaviors, as well as the possible moderating roles of gender in this model.

    A sample of 1, 219 adolescents were recruited from three middle schools in Shandong, China. Quantitative surveys were administered to participants in December, 2015 (T1) and December, 2016 (T2). Adolescents only participated in the first survey, completing a self-administered questionnaire involving demographic variables and developmental assets. The head teachers participated in both surveys and completed an assessment of the externalizing behaviors of the students in their class. A series of analyses were conducted using SPSS 22.0 software, including descriptive statistics and correlation analysis, logistic regression analysis, and hierarchical multiple regression analysis.

    The results of the study were as follows: (1) the developmental assets had a cumulative effect on the reduction of adolescents’ current and subsequent externalizing behaviors. In the cumulative effects relationship model, there was a differentiation between current and subsequent externalizing behaviors, which was characterized by the nonlinear pattern of the quadratic function between cumulative developmental assets and current externalizing behaviors, and a linear pattern between cumulative developmental assets and subsequent externalizing behaviors. (2) The moderating effect of gender was only significant in the nonlinear relationship of the quadratic function between the cumulative developmental assets and current externalizing behaviors.

    In short, the present study is the first to demonstrate the cumulative effects of developmental assets on adolescent externalizing behaviors, as well as the relationship model of the cumulative effects and the moderating effect of gender underlying the relationship model. This study provides a basis for targeted asset construction and the prevention of adolescent externalizing behaviors.

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    Do more contacts bring stronger contact intention? It depends on valence and efficacy
    HUANG Fei,WANG Changcheng,SHI Kuankuan,HALIKE Ababaikere,LI Linpeng
    2019, 51 (11):  1256-1268.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01256
    Abstract ( 4369 )  

    Since they are critical components of today’s societies, interethnic relations can exert a great effect on the stability and harmony of a given social system. For multi-ethnic countries like China, achieving harmonious relations among different ethnic groups is an important but difficult task. Intergroup contact has been confirmed as one of the most effective prejudice reduction strategies across different target groups, situations, and cultural contexts, especially when the four optimal conditions, equal status, cooperation, common goals, and institutional support, are present. However, past contact research is biased because its predominant focus is on positive contact; insufficient attention has been paid to the examination of negative contact, especially in China. Moreover, much of the prior research has focused on intergroup contact from the perspective of majority groups. To address these limitations, this article tested the effects of positive and negative contact from the points of view of both majority and minority groups, and intergroup efficacy was examined as a mediator in positive and negative contact effects.

    Two studies were conducted within two interethnic backgrounds on six samples in total. They were 448 Han (Mage = 20.3, SD = 1.66) and 375 Uyghur (Mage = 21.7, SD = 1.75) from several inland cities, and 791 Han (Mage = 20.1, SD = 1.23) and 901 Uyghur (Mage = 20.8, SD = 1.19) from Xinjiang Province of Study 1, 957 Han (Mage = 15.7, SD = 1.80) and 565 Hui (Mage = 15.9, SD = 1.91) from Ningxia Province of Study 2. All participants completed a battery of self-report questionnaires measuring their positive and negative interethnic contact experiences, interethnic self-efficacy, and intention of interethnic contact. All the measures in the present study showed good reliability and validity for each sample. Data were then analyzed using descriptive statistics, dependent t-test, correlation coefficients comparison, and path analysis to test the hypotheses related to the valence of contact and the role of efficacy.

    he results indicated that: (1) the quantity of positive interethnic contact was significantly much more than negative interethnic contact in all six samples. The weighted average effect size measured by Cohen’s d was 1.75. (2) The correlations between positive interethnic contact and intention of interethnic contact in all six samples were positively significant with medium sizes; the correlations between negative interethnic contact and intention of interethnic contact in all six samples were negatively significant with small sizes, with weighted average rs 0.57 and -0.24 respectively. (3) Valence asymmetry effect showed positive interethnic contact’s effects on enhancing intention of interethnic contact were greater than negative interethnic contact’s effects on weakening intention of interethnic contact. The weighted average r difference was 0.38. (4) Positive and negative interethnic contact exerted significant indirect effects on intention of interethnic contact via interethnic self-efficacy with weighted average indirect effects of 0.13 and -0.08 respectively; positive and negative interethnic contact could also affect intention of interethnic contact directly. (5) Positive and negative interethnic contacts’ effects on intention of interethnic contact were stronger among Han compared with Uyghur in Xinjiang, and positive contact’s effect was significantly lower among Han than Hui in Ningxia. No significant differences were found between majority and minority samples in inland samples on both effects, and no significant difference was found in Ningxia samples on negative contact’s effect. In general, the moderation effect of the majority-minority status was not supported.

    Research into the effects of positive and negative interethnic contact and the mediating role of interethnic self-efficacy demonstrates both theoretical and practical implications. Theoretically, conducting research taking into positive and negative interethnic contact simultaneously could not only serve as a response to the call for strengthening negative contact research, but more importantly, it enriches intergroup contact theory through acquiring evidence from Chinese ethnic background and contributes to a comprehensive understanding of intergroup contact. Practically, the findings presented above suggest that to achieve harmonious interethnic relations, effective measures can be taken to promote positive interethnic contacts and prevent negative interethnic contacts through increased interethnic self-efficacy or directly enhancing the contact intention.

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    Theory and History of Psychology
    Enactive cognition: Theoretical rationale and practical approach
    YE Haosheng,ZENG Hong,YANG Wendeng
    2019, 51 (11):  1270-1280.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01270
    Abstract ( 2496 )  

    There are different theoretical views in the embodied cognition camp, and there is sometimes even conflict among them. Enactive cognition is a new version of recently developed embodied cognition approaches. It claims that the explanation of human cognitive processes across the board should not make any appeal to internal representational or computational states. According to the traditional computation-representation theory of mind, cognitive processes are mechanistically realized in computational processes of building, storing and manipulating detached and abstract internal representations. This cognitivist paradigm has dominated mainstream cognitive psychology for decades. The key assumptions that characterize this representation- centered theory of mind are including that cognition might be understood as computation over mental representations, and that models of cognition should take into account only the inner states of a cognitive individual. But recently this framework has been challenged and criticized. Out of this challenge and criticism emerged the beginnings to an enactive cognition paradigm. The enactive approach to cognitive science proposed a new set of theoretical assumptions for understanding what cognition is and how it works that aims to break the tight conceptual connection between cognition and representation. It takes as its starting point that cognition must not be understood as a capacity for getting an internal representation of a corresponding external reality, which in turn would provide a foundation for supporting thinking, learning, and problem solving. Instead, cognitive processes are deeply entangled in action. Cognition is thus best understood as “enactive”; that is, as a form of practice itself. From the point view of enactive cognition, cognition comes from bodily action and serves bodily action, that is, cognition is embodied action. The key postulate of enactive Cognition is action-related and action-oriented, with the capacity to generate environmental structure by action. Cognition is thus best understood as “enactive”; that is, as embedded action it comes from bodily action and serves bodily action. At the same time, advocates of enactivism state that despite the emphasis on the function of the organism’s action of the mind, the model cannot be equated with behaviorism; action, in contrast to behavior, is purposeful and has a cognitive component. Key aspects of enactive cognition are: (1) perception consists in perceptually guided action and (2) cognitive structures emerge from the recurrent sensorimotor patterns that allow action to be perceptually guided. There are three enactive theories in cognitive science. Autopoietic enactivism emphasizes the deep continuity between life and mind; sensorimotor enactivism focuses on analyzing perceptual consciousness in terms of sensorimotor contingency, and radical enactivism focuses on rejecting representationalism in favour of explanatory strategies that emphasize patterns of embodied interaction. These perspectives on enactive cognition are more informed by phenomenology and pragmatism than were earlier versions of embodied cognition. Therefore, we can say that phenomenology and pragmatism constitute the theoretical origin of enactive cognition. The enactive cognition view is not only theoretically viable, but also supported by substantial experimental evidence demonstrating that cognitive processes can be reinterpreted using this new conceptual framework. The theoretical premises of enactive cognition open up new prospects for improving theoretical research and the practical application of cognitive science in the future.

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    An analysis on Sun Yat-sen's thought of mind construction and its practical significance
    WANG Jing,HUO Yongquan,SONG Peipei,ZHANG Xinyi,YANG Shuangjiao,BAI Yang
    2019, 51 (11):  1281-1290.  doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2019.01281
    Abstract ( 1777 )  

    Dr. Sun Yat-sen was one of the three greatest figures in the modern Chinese history and has made tremendous contribution to the independence, liberation and revival of modern China. In the past decades, Sun's ideologies have been well researched in academic fields such as philosophy and politics. However, there is a lack of discussion about Sun’s thoughts from a psychological perspective. The theory of mind construction plays an extremely important role in Sun's strategies of political revolution and nation building. Sun emphasized the importance of social psychology in social politics and the importance of mind construction in human development. The mind construction theory can be seen as an important theoretical guide and practical reference to the rejuvenation of modern China. The theory of mind construction is concerned with the development of people and society, with the main purposes to educate people, change conservative mindsets, unite people's heart and strength, and eventually promote the common progress of society. The key to this ideological breakthrough was the establishment of the doctrine of "difficult to know and easy to do", which embodies Sun's understanding of the relationships between knowledge and practice, and emphasizes the difficulties and importance of scientific exploration. The mind construction theory is a concise summary of Sun’s experience in revolutionary politics and history, and is characterized by the following features: the integration and innovation of Chinese and Western civilizations, the convergence of material and ethical civilization, and the emphasis on the relationship between human psychology and politics. It is the development and innovation of the spirit of the times. It enlightens us to draw wisdom from our efforts to build a new society that is closely integrated with the highly developed material civilization and the vigorous humanistic spirit. Sun's thoughts of nation building, as the first step in mind development, explored the unique Chinese way to political success, and provided important inspiration for the sacred cause of the Chinese Renaissance in the 21st century. It is noteworthy to know that Dr. Sun Yat-sen was aware of the dialectical relationship between material and ethical civilizations, the energy of the spirit, and the importance of material construction. Moreover, we must pay attention to the positive role of mind construction in current social governance policies. Thus, it is of important theoretical and practical values to revisit, inherit, and creatively implement Sun's mind construction thought.

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