ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B


    30 December 2010, Volume 42 Issue 12 Previous Issue    Next Issue

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    Coordinate Spatial Relations Processing Based on Representation of Parameters
    YOU Xu-Qun,LI-Jing
    2010, 42 (12):  1097-1108. 
    Abstract ( 1251 )   PDF (340KB) ( 1092 )  
    Processing of the visual world around us critically depends upon analysis of spatial relations between objects in scenes and analysis of subcomponents within complex multi-part objects. Spatial relations between objects can be represented either categorically or coordinately. The research results of the separation of processing two kinds of spatial relations are unstable and limited to the level at which two types of processing can affect each other. The analysis was not conducted on whether the processing of spatial relations would implicitly include spatial relations to another. The inevitable interference and interaction with each other in the two tasks of relations existed in previous studies, and the difficulties in the two tasks are different. All of these factors, therefore, could influence the analysis of the relations between the two kinds of processing of spatial relations. Spatial relations are not only required by the visual analysis and the formation of a perceptual representation, but also, they form a conceptual representation due to the exchange. The understanding of spatial relations is the transformation of conceptual representation into the perceptual representation, while the expression of spatial relations is the transformation of perceptual representation into the conceptual representation. The reference system links the perceptual representation and the conceptual representation. The reference system is characterized as a three dimensional axial system, which is defined by a number of parameters, including origin, orientation, direction, spatial templates, and distance. Reference frame can be free to adjust each parameter, and move around the space as with any object, therefore, the reference frame is of a good flexibility. The processing of visuospatial relations is the expression of spatial relations, which is the transformation of perceptual representation into the conceptual representation. No studies by now, however, have explored the representation of reference frame and parameters in the processing of visuospatial relations.
    In the three experiments, we collected response time, controlled across prime trials and probe trials in which orientation, direction, and distance between the objects matched or mismatched, and investigated the representation of reference frame parameters in a coordinate spatial relations processing.
    The results showed that the representation of direction existed in the coordinate relations processing, and the parameters of orientation existed in the contexts of certain tasks. Facilitation, when prime/probe direction matched, derived from the representation of direction in a coordinate spatial relations processing, rather than the similarity of perception units. Facilitation, when prime/probe distance matched, only occurred when the relations of location of prime/probe was coaxial in a reference frame both in experiment I and experiment II.
    The present results suggested that the representation of reference frame seems to be associated with the endpoint of reference frame in the coordinate relations processing, and in the contexts of certain tasks, be associated with axis of reference frame at a more general level. The processing of representation further indicated that in the paradigm of this research, a coordinate relations processing implicitly included categorical spatial relations, and in the contexts of certain tasks, spatial vertical / horizontal categorical spatial relations were included. Finally, the distance representation seems to be associated with a particular axis of reference frame, being applied across endpoints of the axes in the processing of coordinate relations.
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    The Role of Information and Movement Pattern in the Onset of Free Hand Interception
    TANG Ri-Xin,ZHANG Zhi-Jun,LIU Yu-Li
    2010, 42 (12):  1109-1117. 
    Abstract ( 1149 )   PDF (532KB) ( 915 )  
    Interception is a specialized sequence of visual guided actions that occurs when human hands or other body parts initiate an approach to opposing moving target and finally catch them at a certain spatial location. When humans can decide the interception direction of the hand and the time of the startup, what kinds of information do they use to start the interception? It is difficult to estimate time-to-collision (TTC) because the interception zone is not certain. The first aim of the present study was to investigate the role of temporal information and spatial information in hand interceptions of a moving target. In addition, the speed coupling effect has been explained by different and inconsistent theories. The second aim of this study was to examine whether or not this phenomenon existed in free interception and whether or not there was any particular identifiable movement pattern in the interception.
    Fifteen undergraduate students participated in the experiment. All of them had normal vision or vision correction to normal. The experiment’s program was run on a Dell computer using Borland C++ Builder. Subjects were asked to hit the moving ball using their index fingers along linear. The tracks of the subject’s hand were recorded by a movement-analysis system based on active infrared markers (Optotrak 3020; Northern Digital). The program also recorded the position of target ball (startup point) when the hand started to move and the distance between the startup point and the interception point when the finger hit the ball. All of the dependent variables were analyzed with repeated measure ANOVA.
    The results showed that (1) Different velocities of the target ball influenced the distance and time to collision differently. Time to collision was shorter if the target ball moved more quickly, and it was longer when the target ran more slowly. (2) The startup direction and acceleration of the hand were not affected significantly by the velocity of the target ball. The results did identify a specific movement pattern in the startup of interception.
    The conclusions are directed by the study: There is fixed area in interception. It appears that tau and distance may both be used in startup. The speed coupling effect is related to the error of the estimate. The direction and acceleration are stable when subjects start intercepting.
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    Effects of Verbal Memory on Visual Selection: Dimension-based Automatic Guidance of Attention
    PAN Yi
    2010, 42 (12):  1118-1127. 
    Abstract ( 1055 )   PDF (369KB) ( 1691 )  
    According to the biased competition model of Desimone and Duncan (1995), the contents of working memory (WM) may be crucial to resolve the competition for selection amongst different stimuli in the visual scene. Feedback from the item maintained in WM can strengthen the matching representation in early visual cortex, allowing it to win the competition for selection against the other non-matching representations. Previous studies have shown clear evidence that visual WM can automatically guide attention in some conditions, which can be established on both feature-based (e.g., Soto, Heinke, Humphreys, & Blanco, 2005) and dimension-based (e.g., Pan, Xu, & Soto, 2009) matching between memory and attention tasks. Moreover, Soto and Humphreys (2007) demonstrated that when the memory item was verbally represented, the feature-based effect could occur only when there were explicit memory requirements for observers. In other words, implicit verbal memory was not sufficient to automatically bias attention in favor of feature-matching stimuli in the field. In the current study, the author assessed the effects of explicit / implicit verbal memory on dimension-based visual selection. Here, the questions to be tested were that (1) whether the dimensional information held in verbal WM could guide attention to select the matching dimension of objects in the visual scene? and (2) if the answer was yes, then whether explicit memory of verbal stimuli was necessary for this dimension-based effect?
    The present study included two experiments. Experiment 1 explored the effect of explicit verbal memory on visual selection. Twelve naive students participated for cash compensation, and all of them reported having normal or corrected-to-normal visual acuity and normal color vision. All participants were right-handed. The experiment was programmed using Presentation (Version 0.71), and was run on a Pentium IV computer with a 17-inch color monitor. Participants were asked to discriminate whether the colors (or the shapes) of the two objects simultaneously presented to the left and right sides of the screen (separated by approximately 6° from center to center) were the same or different during the retention interval of the verbal WM task. Experiment 2 was designed to explore the effect of implicit verbal memory on visual selection, and its method was very similar to that used in Experiment 1, except that a new group of nine volunteers participated. Here, a go/no-go procedure was used to make participants encode verbal stimuli into implicit memory system. Participants were instructed to withhold the response in the attention task on 25% of trials where a Chinese word referring to either “white” or “square” appeared.
    The results showed a significant dimensional congruency effect in both Experiments 1 and 2. That is, regardless of whether verbal memory was explicit or implicit, response times in the color attention task on incongruent trials (i.e., the relevant dimensions of verbal memory and attention tasks were different) were reliably slower than on congruent trials. Moreover, though the size of congruency effect in Experiment 1 was a bit larger than in Experiment 2, this difference did not approach significance. However, there was no dimensional congruency effect when the relevant dimension of the attention task was shape, suggesting that the effect of dimension-based guidance of attention from verbal memory was not very strong and thus could be modulated.
    The present findings extend previous work that showed the automatic guidance of visual attention to the objects’ features that matched the particular feature value maintained in verbal WM (Soto & Humphreys, 2007). Here, the author demonstrated that visual selection was involuntarily biased to the objects’ features that matched the specific dimension held in explicit / implicit verbal memory. Moreover, the current results also suggest that feature dimensions may be more difficult to be ignored than feature values (Pan, Xu, & Soto, 2009). Once dimensional information is processed, regardless of whether it is maintained in explicit or implicit memory, it will automatically guide attention in favor of the matching visual dimension in the scene.
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    Prospective Memory Needs Strategic Control Processing: Evidence from Eye Movements
    CHEN Si-Yi,ZHOU Ren-Lai
    2010, 42 (12):  1128-1136. 
    Abstract ( 590 )   PDF (343KB) ( 1549 )  
    Prospective memory (PM) is the memory for actions to be performed in the future. Laboratory paradigms designed to examine the factors underlying successful prospective memory have typically utilized single element displays; however, such paradigms can’t reflect the real rich environment in which the realization of intentions is embedded. Besides, previous experiments using a limited set of behavioral measures (i.e. accuracy and response time) can not further explore the inner processing mechanisms underlying event-based PM. The current study sought to address this issue by embedding a prospective memory task in a visual search task in which multi-objects would be presented in the display. As a complement to commonly used measures of response time and accuracy, this study examined various indices of eye movement behavior which provided insight into the eye processing and allowed us to observe which factors mainly contributed to the failures of prospective memory—either the failure to focally attend to the prospective cues or the failure to engage strategic process that facilitate the realization of delayed intentions.
    18 undergraduates (8 women, 10 men) averagely aged 22.25 years participated as paid volunteers. All participants were healthy, right-handed and had normal or corrected to normal vision. In each trial, individuals were presented with a single letter to encode which served as the target in the trial. The target disappeared after it was encoded and a display of 6 horizontally aligned letters appeared. The ongoing task for participants was to determine whether the target was presented in the display, and when participants saw D or M in the search display, they should press another specific key as the prospective task. There are four conditions in the displays: targets only, prospective cues only, target plus prospective cue, distractors (stimuli that were neither targets nor prospective cues). The quantity of targets and prospective cues were counterbalanced between different conditions. Participants’ eye movements were tracked with German SMI iView X-RED Eye Tracking System. Responses were collected using a 4-button response pad.
    The response accuracy data revealed that the ongoing task hits were more frequent than prospective hits, and the response time for prospective cues only as well as distractors was longer than that for targets only. The eye tracking data revealed that there were no differences among all conditions in the quantity of fixations. Both first and total fixation durations increased from distractors to targets to prospective cues. In the failures of prospective memory, the possibility of fixations on the prospective cues largely existed, and the presence of a target in the display served to disrupt the attention to prospective cues. Moreover, individuals tended to look longer at the stimulus which was associated with the response to be made. These findings suggested that the possibility of fixating the prospective cues may not necessarily contribute to the success in prospective memory, and the realization of the intentions need checking and preparatory attentional process for prospective cues, supporting strategic control processing.
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    Effect of the Representation of Semantic Relations of Conditionals on Conditional Reasoning
    WANG Mo-Yun,GAO Po
    2010, 42 (12):  1137-1147. 
    Abstract ( 1194 )   PDF (320KB) ( 1034 )  
    Conditional reasoning is a basic inference in ordinary life and scientific research. For a conditional “if p, then q”, there are two kinds of certain semantic relations: p is sufficient for q, and q is necessary for p. There are three logically equivalent representations of semantic relations of the conditional: if p, then q; only if q, p; not p, or q. In the sufficient representation “if p, then q”, the sufficiency of p for q is explicit, and the necessity of q for p is implicit. In the necessary representation “only if q, p”, the sufficiency of p for q is implicit, and the necessity of q for p is explicit. In the disjunctive representation “not p, or q”, the sufficiency of p for q is implicit, and the necessity of q for p is implicit. The author supposed that the implicit-explicit representation of semantic relations in conditionals would affect people’s perception and understanding of semantic relations (sufficient or necessary relation) in conditionals, which would further affect people’s conditional inferences. The explicit representation of semantic relations would improve correspondent condition inferences, whereas the implicit representation of semantic relations would impair correspondent condition inferences. However, there is no previous study on the influence of representation of semantic relations of conditionals on conditional inferences.
    The present experiment examined the possible influences of two between-subjects factors on conditional inferences for basic conditionals. One factor was the representation of semantic relations of the three logically equivalent conditionals which had three levels: the sufficient conditionals; the necessary conditionals; the disjunctive conditionals. The other factor concerning possibility judgment had two levels: the absence or presence of the task of possibility judgment in which participants judged whether the four cases (p and q; not p and q; not p and not q; p and not q) relevant to conditionals are possible given the conditionals. The task is to construct explicit mental models implicated in each conditional. The two between-subjects factors combined into six experimental conditions. In each experimental condition, there were two basic conditionals in a questionnaire on a sheet. For each conditional, there were four conditional inference questions (MP, MT, DA, and AC). In each inference question, participants were asked to judge whether a certain conclusion can be derived from a particular major premise and a minor premise. There were three answer options participants can choose from: Yes, No or Uncertain. In the three experimental conditions with the task of possibility judgment, the task of possibility judgment was arranged before the task of conditional inference. Participants were 254 college students which were randomly arranged into the six experimental conditions.
    The results showed that for the three logically equivalent conditionals, there was a significant effect of the representation of semantic relations of conditionals on conditional inferences. Participants’ performances on conditional inferences corresponding to explicit semantic relations were better than those on conditional inferences corresponding to implicit semantic relations. There was no significant difference between conditional inferences in the task of possibility judgment and conditional inferences in the absence of task of possibility judgment. The task of possibility judgment as explicit mental model construction did not significantly improve participants’ performances on conditional inferences. There was dissociation between participants’ performances on conditional inferences and participants’ performances on possibility judgment. Participants’ performances on conditional inferences were significantly worse than participants’ performances on possibility judgment. These implied that participants did not completely base their conditional inferences on mental model construction.
    In summary, the present study shows that people don’t completely base their conditional inferences on mental model construction; their conditional inferences are also affected by the representation of semantic relations of conditionals. For the three logically equivalent conditionals, people’s performances on conditional inferences improve as the representation of semantic relations of conditionals becomes the explicit form from the implicit form.
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    The Principle of Extracting Background Relations in Property Effect of Inductive Reasoning
    CUI Ya-Fei,LI Hong,LI Fu-Hong
    2010, 42 (12):  1148-1155. 
    Abstract ( 1248 )   PDF (345KB) ( 1195 )  
    Property effect, also called interaction between properties and premise-conclusion matches, is an important psychological effect in inductive reasoning, which suggested that people could base on the background relation (relations between premise and conclusion) property most relevant to. At the same time, previous studies showed that different types of background relation vary in their relative accessibility. Therefore, the current study tries to examine which kind of background relation people would give priority to, the most accessible or the property most relevant, in inductive reasoning.
    The experiment consisted of two parts: a property induction task followed by a belief- assessment task, both were conducted on the computer using E-Prime. In the induction task, 64 Chinese undergraduates were told about a novel gene or a novel disease that was true of one category of animals, they had to judge whether taxonomically, ecologically, and unrelated animals had the same property or not, under speeded or delayed conditions. Under speeded conditions the second category of animals presented 1s (delayed conditions 15s), participants were asked to judge as quickly as possible after they disappeared. After the judgment, they were asked to evaluate the confidence in their judgment. In the belief-assessment task, participants were shown each item again and asked “Do these animals live in the same habitat?” and “Do these animals belong to the same biological category?” They answered “yes” “no” or “don’t know”.
    The result revealed that: (1) Property effect was independent of time pressure. The possibility of reasoning(the percent of judged “yes” in the induction task) for gene between taxonomically related animals was greater than for disease in both speeded and delayed conditions, but between ecologically related animals, there was no difference. (2) Time pressure affected the confidence of reasoning, higher in speeded conditions than in delayed conditions. (3) In the speeded conditions, both taxonomical and ecological relatedness beliefs could predict the possibility and confidence of reasoning, but in delayed conditions both beliefs couldn’t.
    These results proved that people are firstly extract the background relation property most relevant to then extract those less relevant or un-relevant in inductive reasoning.
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    Brain Areas Activated and Cognitive Approaches Adopted in L2 Phonological Process
    NI Chuan-Bin,LU Guang-Ming,ZHANG Zhi-Qiang,WANG Zhong-Qiu,XU Xiao-Dong,ZHANG Zhi-Yi
    2010, 42 (12):  1156-1165. 
    Abstract ( 969 )   PDF (397KB) ( 1379 )  
    Logographic Chinese and alphabetic English exhibit a sharp contrast in both phonology and orthography. Although about eighty-five percent of present-day Chinese characters are phonetic compounds containing a phonetic component that may give information about the pronunciation of the compound, estimates of the validity of this information reveal that only thirty-eight percent of phonetic components are helpful for the pronunciation of whole characters (Perfetti & Tan, 1999). However, the pronunciation of most English words is known largely predictable based upon grapheme-to-phoneme conventions. Given the huge difference, what is the cognitive and neural-anatomical mechanism when those bilinguals, whose native language is Chinese and who learn English as a second language (L2), are performing a phonological task on English words has attracted much attention in cognitive science. This paper was to find out the possible approaches adopted by those bilinguals in L2 phonological process and to locate the brain areas activated in the process as well.
    Twenty-nine Chinese post-graduates (13 females and 16 males; aged 23 to 24), who were late bilinguals presumably with high proficiency in English, participated in the experiment. They were asked to judge the rhymes of real-word pairs, which were of high frequency, regular grapheme-phoneme correspondence and high lexicality, and meanwhile, they were given some pronounceable pseudoword pairs and control-letter pairs (consonant-letter strings) to judge too. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) was employed to scan their brain areas activated in the process, and E-prime was used to record their behavioral performance. The fMRI experiment was done in 6 sessions, each of which contained 3 blocks respectively corresponding to rhyme decision of read-word pairs, pronounceable pseudoword pairs, and font size decision of control-letter pairs.
    The results obtained from behavioral measurement and fMRI analysis showed that these late bilinguals were at approximately the same speed in judging the real-word pairs and pseudoword pairs (MD=3.27; p=0.932>0.05), but much faster in judging the control-letter pairs (MD=214.95; P<0.01); that their brain areas activated in L2 phonological process involved the left dorsal lateral frontal system, the left ventral prefrontal system, the dorsal aspect of left inferior parietal system, and the bilateral ventral occipitotemporal system where the phonological process of their mother tongue works; and that the brain areas activated as a whole were strongly left-lateralized , but the areas in occipital lobe (Asymmetric Index: -0.10) and cerebellum (Asymmetric Index: -0.03) were slightly right-lateralized.
    In a word, the late proficient bilinguals were found to employ the same brain areas in phonological process for both their mother tongue and L2, and they appeared to be taking an assembled approach rather than an addressed approach to L2 phonological process.
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    The Relation Between Verbal Skills and Theory of Mind in Preschoolers: A Short-Term Longitudinal Study
    ZHANG Li-Jin,WU Nan
    2010, 42 (12):  1166-1174. 
    Abstract ( 1443 )   PDF (437KB) ( 3057 )  
    Abundant research has shown that language not only was related to, but also appeared to play a causal role in the development of theory of mind (ToM). However, it remained unclear which aspect of language development contributes most to the development of ToM. Some researchers such as Astington et al. (1999) and de Villiers (2002) had found that the syntactic (sentential complements) ability predicted unique variance in ToM task scores; others such as Lohmann and Tomasello (2003) focused on the significant contribution of both syntactic and semantic (mental verbs) abilities to the development of ToM. Still others such as Ruffman et al. (2003) emphasized the general verbal skills, rather than specific aspects of language development, in the development of ToM. The emphasis on general verbal skills is noteworthy given that the successful completion of ToM tasks requires understanding of contexts in which verbal communication occurs, in addition to adequate syntactic and semantic abilities. Therefore, using a short-term longitudinal design, we expected that preschoolers’ verbal skill test scores would significantly predict their ToM task scores six months later.
    The participants were 80 four- and five year-old children recruited from a preschool in Ningxia. At both Time 1 (T1) and Time 2 (T2, six months later), trained research assistants administered three false belief tasks intended to assess ToM, and the Chinese version of McCarthy Scales of Children’s Abilities (MSCA)-Verbal Scale which measures children’s general verbal skills. Cross-lagged regression analysis was used to examine the prospective relation between children’s verbal skills and their ToM abilities.
    Both the four- and five-years old children had higher verbal skill scores and ToM task scores at T2 than at T1. The results of cross-lagged regression analyses revealed a significant prospective relation between verbal skills at T1 and ToM abilities at T2 among four but not five years old children. These findings suggest that the increasing verbal skills among preschoolers may play a significant role in the development of ToM, yet the relation between verbal skills and ToM abilities appears to be stronger for younger children.
    The results of this short-term longitudinal study provide some support for the important role of verbal skills plays in the development of ToM, particularly among four years old children. In addition, the finding that the prospective relation between verbal skills and ToM abilities was only found for four years old children suggests that the role verbal skills plays in the development of ToM may be a function of children’s age.
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    How Does Personality Relate to Mental Health in Service Industry Setting? The Mediating Effects of Emotional Labor Strategies
    HUANG Min-Er,WU Zhong-Qi,TANG Gan-Qi
    2010, 42 (12):  1175-1189. 
    Abstract ( 1768 )   PDF (641KB) ( 3101 )  
    The study investigated the correlations between personality traits, emotional labor strategies and mental health in service industry settings. Substantial literature has suggested that there is a significant relation between personality traits (e.g., extraversion, neuroticism) and mental health. However, personality traits are associated with emotional labor– that is, emotion regulation in workplace. Emotional labor strategies include surface action, deep action, and autonomic action, and they also have different effects on mental health. The present study examined the mediating effects of emotional labor strategies upon personality traits and mental health in a group of employees from service industry settings.
    357 employees recruiting from nine local industry settings took part in the current study. All of them were administered with a set of questionnaires assessing personality by the QZPS Chinese Personality Scale (Wang & Cui, 2004), measuring emotional labor strategies by Scale of Emotional Labor (Diefendorff, Croyle, and Gosserand, 2005). Measurement of mental health indexes included Emotional Exhaustion Scale (Simpson & Stroh, 2004), Psychological Inauthenticity Scale (Simpson & Stroh, 2004), and Scale of Physical & Psychological Strain (Siu, Spector, Cooper, & Lu, 2005).
    A series of path analyses were conducted to test 1) the relations between traits, emotional labor strategies, and mental health state in multiple indexes, and 2) the mediation of emotional labor strategies upon the traits and mental health indexes. Results demonstrated that: (1) in QZPS, Kindness predicted less surface acting, and more autonomic regulation; Capability predicted better deep-acting; Working style predicted more autonomic regulation. Emotionality predicted less deep action; Others-orientation predicted less surface-acting and more autonomic regulation, Self-orientation predicted more deep-acting; Object-orientation predicted more deep and autonomic regulation, and less surface-acting; (2) surface action predicted worse mental health and deep action and autonomic action predicted better mental health; (3) surface-acting mediated the effects of traits (kindness, and others-orientation) upon mental health, deep-acting mediated the effects of traits (emotionality, capability, self-orientation, and object-orientation) upon mental health, and autonomic regulation mediated the effects of traits (kindness, working style, and object–orientation) upon mental health; and (4) extraversion predicted better mental health directly.
    The results indicated that people with higher scores on Extraversion, Kindness, Capability, Working style, Object-orientation, Self- and Others-Orientation could be considered as better candidates working in service industry settings. Candidates with a higher score on Emotionality could be regarded as a less adaptive one at the working situation. Professional psychological training and psychological counseling for employees working in service industry settings should focus on how to facilitate more autonomic action and deep action so as to maintain and improve mental health. The present study provided evidences for potential applications in personnel assessment, recruitment, and occupational health improvement in service industry settings.
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    Totle Contents of Acta Psychologica Sinica, Vol.42, 2010
    2010, 42 (12):  1190-1196. 
    Abstract ( 733 )   PDF (320KB) ( 1352 )  
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    Reviewers of Acta Psychologica Sinica in 2010
    2010, 42 (12):  1197-1198. 
    Abstract ( 732 )   PDF (170KB) ( 1415 )  
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