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PSY 3320 Theories of Personality
What is personality?
 Not a readily defined concept
 Little common agreement among personality theorists
on the appropriate use of the term
 However, provides a definition of
personality that says, “personality is made up of the
characteristic patterns of thoughts, feelings and
behaviors that make a person unique.”
Personality Theories
 Psychoanalytic
 Social-Cognitive and Behaviorist
 Humanistic
Psychoanalytic Personality Theorists
 Sigmund Freud
 Neo Freudians
Carl Jung
Alfred Adler
Karen Horney
Eric Fromm
 Erik Erikson
Social-cognitive and Behaviorist
Personality Theorists
 Jean Piaget
 Albert Bandura
 Ivan Pavlov
 B. F. Skinner
Humanistic Personality Theorists
 Abraham Maslow
 Carl Rogers
Sigmund Freud
Sigmund Freud
 Born in 1856
 Started in medical school studying neurology
 First practiced neuropsychiatry
Sigmund Freud
 Personality is made up of 3 interacting components
 Id
 Ego
 Superego
Sigmund Freud
 Compared the mind to an iceberg made up of 3 levels
 Conscious
 Preconscious
 Unconscious
Freud’s 3 levels of the mind
 Conscious—our current thoughts, feelings, desires,
memories, etc…everything we are aware of at any given
Freud’s 3 levels of the mind
 Preconscious—closely associated with the conscious
 Anything that one is not currently aware of but can
easily be recalled into the conscious mind
Freud’s 3 levels of the mind
 Unconscious—biggest part of the mind
 Includes everything that one may not be aware of like
drives and instincts and also things that one may have
unknowingly repressed for some reason
Freud: Mind is an iceberg
3 components of personality
 Id—basic instinctual drives
 Pleasure principle
 Subjective reality
 Immediate gratification
3 components of personality
 Ego—develops to realistically deal with the Id
 Reality principle
 Objective reality
 Delayed gratification
3 components of personality
 Superego—represents internalized values, ideals, and
moral standards
 Sets the limits
 Controls
 Provides feeling of guilt
Ego conflict
 The Ego must create a balance between the pleasure
seeking Id and the Superego
 Sometimes keeping this balance can become very
difficult for the ego and can create anxiety
 Freud identified 3 different forms of anxiety
 Reality anxiety
 Fear of something real
Example: fear of failing a test if one has not studied
 Moral anxiety
 Feelings of anxiety that originate in the superego
Examples include feelings of shame, guilt, etc
 Neurotic anxiety
 Fear of being overwhelmed by internal drives, impulses,
Example: fear of “losing one’s mind”
Defense Mechanisms
 To deal with this anxiety, the ego develops defense
mechanisms to keep anxiety from taking over
Defense Mechanisms
 Repression—unconscious repressing of a traumatic
event, desire, etc
 Denial—not accepting the reality of something
 Regression—acting in a child-like way like an adult
having a temper tantrum
Defense Mechanisms continued
 Displacement—taking one’s anxiety and redirecting it
on to someone or something else
 Sublimation—taking something unpleasant and
turning it into something productive and useful
 Retrogression—trying to get back to a specific age
Example of Displacement
Defense Mechanisms continued
 Reaction formation—one’s behavior is opposite of the
way they really feel
 Projection—take any unacceptable impulses and
attribute them to something else
 Rationalization—coming up with reasons to justify
something…making up lies that we want to believe
Freud’s Stage Theory
 Freud’s Psychosexual stages of Development
 Put emphasis on sexuality
 Claimed that depending on our age and what stage we
are in, we have different erogenous zones
 If we become frustrated or overindulged at any
particular stage we may become fixated on that stage
Freud’s Psychosexual Stages
 Oral stage (birth to 18 months)*
 Erogenous zone: mouth
 Associated with weaning
* Ages are approximate
Freud’s Psychosexual Stages
 Anal Stage (18 months to 4)
 Erogenous zone: anus
 Associated with potty training
Freud’s Psychosexual Stages
 Phallic stage (3—5-6)
 Oedipus complex (boys)
Castration anxiety—fear of losing one’s penis
 Electra complex (girls)
Penis envy—according to Freud, girls apparently want a penis
Oedipus Complex
Freud’s Psychosexual Stages
 Latency stage (6-puberty)
 Once children go to school they can focus their energy
on learning
Freud’s Psychosexual Stages
 Genital stage (puberty-adulthood)
 Pleasure is derived from sexual intercourse
Freud’s Psychosexual stages of
Neo Freudians
 Carl Jung
 Alfred Adler
 Karen Horney
 Eric Fromm
Neo Freudians
 Neo Freudians generally disagreed with Freud on at
least one of several different issues
 1. Freud’s emphasis on sexual drives
 2. Freud’s belief that human nature is naturally evil
 3. Freud’s failure to acknowledge adult experiences as a
potential influence on an individual’s personality
Neo Freudians
Carl Jung
Carl Jung
 Follower of Freud
 Disagreed with Freud over sexual drives
 Founded analytic psychology
Carl Jung
 Psyche—all psychological processes, thoughts,
feelings, etc
 Viewed the unconscious as a source of consciousness
 Libido—an undifferentiated energy that moves a
person forward
 This is a different definition than Freud who viewed
libido as a sexual impulse or drive
Personal Unconscious vs. Collective
 Personal unconscious
 An individual’s history that has been repressed or
Jung’s personal unconscious was the same as Freud’s
Personal Unconscious vs. Collective
 Personal unconscious
 Example: an idea an individual has of their OWN
mother—nurturing, strict, etc
Personal Unconscious vs. Collective
 Collective unconscious
 Universal forms of thought an individual may have
about any given idea (archetypes)
Example: a general idea an individual may have about a
mother figure—kind, nurturing, caring
Carl Jung
 Archetypes
 Universal symbols
 Stereotypical ways of looking at something
 Jung identified 4 different archetypes although he
believed there could be an infinite number of
 1. The Self
 2. The Shadow
 3. The Persona
 4. The Anima or Animus
 The Self
 Central archetype that is the combination of the
unconscious and conscious
True midpoint of personality
A Mandela is a symbol of the self
 The Shadow
 Made up of repressed and unsocial thoughts, feelings,
and behaviors
 Dark side of the psyche
 Unknown to most individuals although it can appear in
 The Persona
 Social role
 Our way of presenting ourselves to society
 One’s persona or way of presenting themselves can
change depending on what social setting and/or
situation they are in
 The Anima or Animus—one’s true self
 Can be different than the self one presents to the world
 Anima
Feminine side of male psyche
 Animus
Masculine side of female psyche
 Other possible archetypes
 Father—strong, provider, head of family
 Grandparents—doting, loving, generous
 Youngest child—spoiled, baby, etc
Alfred Adler
 Neo Freudian who disagreed with Freud in that Freud
did not focus on the importance of an individual’s
culture and society on the development of their
Alfred Adler
 Defined social interest as:
 A desire innate in individuals to adjust themselves to
whatever conditions exist at the present in their social
 Defined fictional finalism as:
 Belief that individuals have where they think of future
events or ideas as being definite even though there is no
way to definitely predict our personal future
Alfred Adler’s Psychotherapy
 Adler’s therapy mainly consisted of getting people to
realize they may have unrealistic life goals
 Neuroses
 He tried to get people to return to a sense of reality
Karen Horney (1885-1952)
Karen Horney
 Radical feminist who disagreed with the Freudian
 Theory of neuroses and defense attitudes
 Countered Freud’s “penis envy” with “womb envy”
Karen Horney
 Womb envy
 Women have a higher, more important role in that they
can give birth to children
This explains the high achievements of men because they have
to make up in other areas for the fact that they cannot give
Karen Horney
 Defense attitudes
 Attitudes we develop to allow us to deal with all the
anxiety in the real world
Should reduce anxiety
Karen Horney
 Identified 3 coping strategies
 1. primary modes of relating
 2. moving away
 3. moving against
Karen Horney
 Made a distinction between one’s “real self” and
“idealized self”
 Real self—acknowledging one’s own true unique talents
 Idealized self—what one thinks they should be
Real Self
 Realized by those who live in harmony with their own
 Horney believed that all children are born with a drive
toward self-realization
 Believed that children’s relationships with their
caretakers strongly influence whether they develop a
real self
Real Self
 Will emerge naturally if children are allowed to grow
and mature without hindrance
 Most important thing a parent can give their child is a
sense of belonging
Real Self
 Sense of belonging can be realized if parents
empathize with their children and are accepting and
recognize that their children are unique individuals
 This will bring out a basic confidence in children
 Encourages the development of positive qualities
 This basic confidence allows for the development of
positive qualities that Horney believes is a trademark
of self-realization
 Examples of qualities of self-realizing children
Openness to experience
Ability to recognize their limitations
Ability to be themselves
Knowledge of who they are
 Poor parenting can harm the development of self-
realization in children
 Examples of poor parenting according to Horney:
Apathy toward the child
Favoring of another sibling
 Any one of the examples of poor parenting may not
necessarily result in poor self-development
 Rather, the spirit in which parents care for their
children and the atmosphere they create is extremely
Idealized Self
 Used as a model that we create to help us continue
striving toward our goals and fully realize our potential
Eric Fromm
 Worked closely with Karen Horney
 Talked about basic human conditions and needs
 Freedom
 Escape mechanisms
Eric Fromm
 Freedom—basic human condition part of a
psychological problem
 Fromm believed that as people get more freedom, they
also have increased feelings of separation and isolation
 He proposed 3 escape mechanisms that people use to
escape from the burden of freedom
Escape Mechanisms
 Authoritarianism
Escape from freedom by becoming part of a larger society
either by becoming an authority or by allowing others to be an
 Destructiveness
Escape from freedom by destroying something in the world or
harming oneself
 Automation conformity
Escape from freedom by blending in with the world
Erik Erikson
Erik Erikson
 Psychosocial Theory of Development
 Stage theory
Each stage represents a new conflict that must be resolved in
order to successfully move on to the next stage
Stages extend from birth until death
Erikson’s Psychosocial stages
 Stage 1
 Basic trust vs. basic mistrust (0-1)*
Infants are helpless as in they rely on their caregiver for everything
Basic trust develops when the caregiver provides predictable,
reliable, and consistent care
Basic mistrust develops when the caregiver does not consistently
provide predictable, reliable, and consistent care
 For example, the infant cries and no one comes to feed it, etc
*ages are approximate
Erikson’s Psychosocial stages
 Stage 2
 Autonomy vs. shame and self doubt (2-3)
Related to potty training
Autonomy develops if the child understands that they are
being potty trained in order to gain more self-control
Shame and self doubt develops if their caregiver has a “do it or
else” attitude
Erikson’s Psychosocial stages
 Stage 3
 Initiative vs. guilt (3-5)
During this stage children have a lot of energy and enthusiasm
but yet they still require the supervision of adults
If caregivers are able to harness the child’s energy and
enthusiasm and give them guidance than they will develop
However, if caregivers only punish children without providing
proper guidance they will develop guilt
Erikson’s Psychosocial stages
 Stage 4
 Industry vs. inferiority (5-11)
Children have a desire to feel like they are good at something
If caregivers provide encouragement and help children to
realize they are a valuable part of the community, they will
develop industry
However, if caregivers make fun of children’s skills or abilities,
they will develop inferiority
Erikson’s Psychosocial stages
 Stage 5
 Identity vs. role confusion (11-18)
The conflict during adolescence is finding out what one is
going to do with their life
Identity will develop if one successfully tries out new things
and uses the feedback to figure out what they want to do
and/or be
Role confusion will prevail if one is unable to figure out what
they want with their life
Erikson’s Psychosocial stages
 After Erikson’s first 5 stages, the conflicts are less
intense and have no specific age associated with them.
Erikson’s Psychosocial stages
 Stage 6
 Intimacy vs. isolation (early adulthood)
This stage focuses on an individual’s ability to become part of
a meaningful relationship
Intimacy results if the individual is successful
Isolation results if an individual fails to establish a
Erikson’s Psychosocial stages
 Stage 7
 Generativity vs. stagnation (middle adulthood)
Generativity results if an individual feels they are being
productive with their life
Stagnation results if an individual feels like their life is
progressing the way they want it to
Erikson’s Psychosocial stages
 Stage 8
 Ego integrity vs. despair (late adulthood)
Ego integrity results if an individual can look back on their life
and feel like it was worth it
Despair results if an individual looks back on their life and
feels like they haven’t done anything productive
Erikson vs. Freud
Jean Piaget
Jean Piaget
 Began as a biologist
 Claimed people are always striving to adapt and
survive…believed this was an innate tendency
 Claimed that the reason we are always striving to adapt
and survive is because of our reasoning skills
Jean Piaget
 Humans reasoning skills are what makes them
different from other animals and organisms
 Epistemology—the study of knowledge or reason
 What individuals are or are not capable of knowing
Jean Piaget
 Dealt with cognitive development
 Growth of the mind
 Believed that mental development goes along with
neurological development
Jean Piaget
 Believed development of the mind of a child happens
in an orderly stage-like process
 Believed children are capable of grasping certain
things at certain ages and not before
Jean Piaget
 Believed children are actively trying to understand and
become scientists
 Claimed that children are NOT a blank slate that
everything needs to be pressed on
 This was contrary to the teachings of John Locke who
maintained that children’s minds are a blank slate that
can be molded into anything
Jean Piaget
 Defined “schemes” as basic structures or
understandings of the mind
 Schemes are mental outlines about how some part of the
world operates
 Children’s understanding of the world is dependent on
the stage they are in
For example, infant’s schemes include how to suck, throw, etc
while an adult scheme may be how to operate a vehicle
Jean Piaget
 The mind is constantly forming and reforming
 Cognitive disequilibrium—when an individual is
confronted with a new situation there is a tendency to
get frustrated
 Since individuals’ don’t like frustration, we either
assimilate or accommodate to remove the frustration
Jean Piaget
 Once schemes are formed—like how to act in a
classroom—we can form new schemes using the old
ones (assimilation) or we may be forced to form
completely new schemes (accommodation) when we
are confronted with a new situation
Jean Piaget
 Assimilation
 Individual’s build on current schemes to adapt to a new
With assimilation there is no need to relearn anything…just
use an existing scheme
Jean Piaget
 Accommodation
 Either modify a scheme or create a brand-new scheme
Accommodation occurs when an individual comes up against
the limitations of their knowledge making it necessary to
grow and mature through accommodation
Jean Piaget
 Children are able to assimilate and accommodate
certain things at certain stages
 Piaget’s developed 4 stages of cognitive development
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
 I. Sensorimotor Period (0-2)
 Infants knowledge is mostly concerned with how they
can move something
How things in the world look and feel
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
 6 sub phases of the Sensorimotor Period
 1. Reflex Activity (0-1 month)
Most of the child’s activities involves reflexes of some kind
 2. Self-investigation (1-4 mo.)
More intentional activity and primarily circular reactions
 May repeat the original movement that got whatever it is they
want in the first place
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
 3. Coordination and Reading Out (4-8mo.)
Increase in myelin in the brain facilitates their ability to
explore things in their environment
 4. Purposeful co ordinations/goal directed behavior (8-
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
 5. Experimentation (12-18mo.)
Children play with objects just to see what happens
Involves tertiary circular reactions
 6. problem solving and mental combinations (18-24
Children are using symbolic representation (language)
They can represent the world in words and images
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
 During the Sensorimotor period children develop
object permanence
 Object permanence is essential for acquiring language
 Object permanence is the realization that something
exists even if they can’t see it
No longer dependent on sensing and feeling
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
 II Preoperational Period (2-7)
 Children have a more abstract knowledge (thinking)
 However, their thinking is not logical and it is egocentric
Egocentrism is where one’s outlook is entirely concerned with
oneself…only see things from one’s own perspective
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
 2 sub phases of the Preoperational Period
Pre-concepts (2-4)
 Concepts are incomplete and biased
Intuitive thought (4-7)
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
 Children during the Preoperational Period are biased
toward their own first-person viewpoint
 They believe everything has feelings (talking trains and frogs
make sense to them)
 They may think the moon is following them
 May cover their eyes with their hands because they believe that
if they can’t see a person than the person can’t see them
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
 At the end of the Preoperational Period, children should
finally realize that reality goes beyond egocentrism and
that there are other ways of viewing the world beyond
their own thoughts, feelings, etc
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
 III Concrete Operational Period (7-11)
 This stage represents when a child first becomes a
logical thinker
 Use of concrete logic
Good way to teach kids fractions is by using pizza
Use words like “take away” instead of subtract
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
 Children have completely overcome their egocentric
bias when they learn to conserve
Conservation—based off of mental processes
 Example of a conservation task…fill up two short, fat cups with
juice…then take one of the cups and pour the juice into a tall
skinny cup…if the child realizes that both the short fat cup and
the tall skinny cup has the same amount of fluid they can
Piaget’s conservation task
Example: lack of conservation
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
 Once children have learned to conserve, they have made
it to the final stage of Piaget’s cognitive development
Piaget’s stages of cognitive dev.
 IV Formal Operational Period (11+)
 Thinking is abstract—not necessarily tied to the
concrete material world
 Ability to contemplate the future—hypothetical
 Discovers possibility
Criticism of Piaget’s stage theory
 Some have contended that children are capable of
learning certain things before Piaget claims they can
 Example—a teacher-student relationship—students
usually try to give a teacher the right answer, also, kids
may not always know what they’re being asked
Alternatives to Piaget
 Vygotsky contended that there are not perfectly
segmented stages of cognitive development
 Rather, it is better to talk about general zones
 Came up with scaffolding as a way to get through to
children…talk to them on a level they can understand
Albert Bandura
 Social Learning Theory
 Observational learning or modeling
Bobo doll example
Albert Bandura
 Bobo doll
 Bandura showed children a video of a woman beating up
a bobo doll
 The children were then allowed to play in a playroom
complete with a bobo doll
Albert Bandura
 Not surprisingly, many of the children then proceeded
to beat up the bobo doll in a similar fashion to what
they just observed in the video
 Bandura called this observational learning since the
children basically copied the behavior of the woman in
the video
Albert Bandura
 Observational Learning or Modeling
 The children in the bobo doll experiment were not
given any reward to change their behavior
 Instead, all that was needed to change their behavior
was to observe someone else doing the behavior
Albert Bandura
 These results conflicted with Behaviorist Learning Theory
 Behaviorists believe that individual’s learning behavior through a
system of rewards and punishments
 However, Bandura demonstrated that individual’s could also
learn through modeling
Alfred Bandura
 Theory of Observational Learning
 Vicarious reinforcement—an individuals sees someone
else being rewarded for a behavior which makes the
individual more likely to perform the behavior
Alfred Bandura
 If role models provide vicarious reinforcement and an
individual models them:
 Modeling effect—the individual wants the same reward
the role model received
 Additionally, if a role model is punished for a negative
behavior, an individual may not engage in that
behavior because they don’t want the same
Ivan Pavlov
 Russian physiologist
 Researched involuntary reflex actions
 Discovered what would become known as classical
Ivan Pavlov
 Classical Conditioning—type of learning where a
behavior or response is automatically evoked by a
stimulus that was originally induced by another
 Discovered some form of classical conditioning when
working with dogs
Classical Conditioning
 Neutral stimulus
 Produces no particular response
 Unconditioned stimulus
 Automatically produces a particular response
 Conditioned stimulus
 Produced by a former neutral stimulus that has become
conditioned by becoming associated with the
unconditioned stimulus
Classical Conditioning
 Unconditioned response
 An automatic response resulting from the
unconditioned stimulus
 Conditioned response
 A response that has been learned and it results from the
stimulus that used to be neutral
Classical Conditioning
Classical Conditioning
 Pavlov and his dog experiment
 Pavlov was able to make dogs salivate when they heard a
 He did this through classical conditioning
 He paired a neutral stimulus with an unconditioned
stimulus to evoke a conditioned response
Ivan Pavlov
Classical Conditioning
 Pavlov would put some food in front of his dogs and
they would begin to salivate
 The food is the unconditioned stimulus and salivating is
the unconditioned response
 He then would present food AND ring a bell at the
same time and of course the dogs still salivated
 In the beginning the bell was the neutral stimulus
Classical Conditioning
 After presenting the food and ringing the bell together
multiple times he eventually just rang the bell
 Not surprisingly, the dogs still salivated even though
there was no food present
Classical Conditioning
 The bell that started out as the neutral stimulus
became the conditioned stimulus after being paired
with the unconditioned stimulus
 Therefore, the bell alone could now produce salivation
which became the conditioned response to the bell
 This showed how stimulus-response bonds are created
Ivan Pavlov
B. F. Skinner
 Operant conditioning
 Reinforcement
 Punishment
 Schedules of reinforcement
 Shaping
Operant conditioning
 When organisms operate on the environment, there
are effects
 These effects are known as consequences or reinforcers
 Consequences determines the predictability or the
likelihood of a behavior
Operant vs. Classical Condition.
 Classical conditioning is an automatic stimulus-
response type of learning
 Whereas
 Operant conditioning is where rewards or
punishments increase or decrease the likelihood of
someone repeating the behavior
Classical vs. Operant Condition.
Operant Conditioning
 Two types of consequences
 Punishment (not necessarily something negative)
 Reinforcement (reward)
Operant Conditioning
 Punishment—decrease in the probability that the
behavior will happen again
 Positive punishment
Decrease likelihood of a behavior by giving or inflicting
something bad
 Negative punishment
Decrease likelihood of a behavior by removing something
Operant Conditioning
 Reinforcement—increase in the likelihood of a
behavior happening again
 Positive reinforcement
Increase likelihood of a behavior by giving something good
 Negative reinforcement
Increase likelihood of a behavior by removing something bad
Operant Conditioning
Schedules of Reinforcement
 Fixed interval
 Reward will occur on a regular basis after a certain (and
always the same) amount of time—this amount of time
could be every half hour, every week, every month, etc.
 Variable interval
 Reward will occur on a regular basis after a specific
amount of time. However, the amount of time may
change—it could be every half hour, every week, OR
every month, etc.
Schedules of Reinforcement
 Fixed Ratio
 Reward is given based on the behavior happening a certain
amount of times—it could be after the behavior happens 5
times, etc.
 Variable Ratio
 Reward is given based on the behavior happening a certain
amount of times but it is not known when during those times
the reward will be given—it could be once every 5 times but
on the 4th time one time and on the 3rd time the next time
 Use of “successive approximations”
 Idea is to train bit by bit—first get the individual or
animal to do a behavior that’s only somewhat similar to
the end target, then keep changing the behavior to be
more and more similar to the end target
 Example:
 1. train a dog to come into a room and give them a treat
 2. train a dog to come into a room and go to a specific
spot and give them a treat
 3. train a dog to come into a room, go to a specific spot,
and sit down and give them a treat
This could keep going on until whatever behavior someone
wants is achieved
Abraham Maslow
 Developed hierarchy of needs
 On the bottom are basic needs we need to survive
(breathing, drinking, eating, etc.)
 Once those needs are fulfilled we have other needs
(safety, etc.)
 Once we have made it to the top we have a need of selfactualization
Maslow’s hierarchy of needs
Abraham Maslow
 Self actualization
 In order to reach this level all other needs must be met
 Self actualization involves always striving to be the best
one can possibly be—fulfilling one’s potential
Carl Rogers
 Believed that a developing person has an inherent
need and desire to fulfill one’s own potential
 Actualizing tendency—always striving to become one’s
ideal self
 Ideal self
 What each individual strives to become
Carl Rogers
 Everyone is born with a self-actualizing tendency
 This does not mean everyone successfully becomes
his/her ideal self
 Parents who provide their children with unconditional
love create an environment conducive to healthy
Carl Rogers
 Children who think their parents are not providing
them with unconditional love, may change their
behavior to what they think will make their parents
love them
 This may create confusion for the child since they are
not acting like themselves but rather are acting as what
their parents want them to be
Carl Rogers
 This confusion can also become anxiety for the child
because they may feel if they stop acting in the way
they believe their parents want them to, their parents
may stop loving them
 Self-actualizing then becomes fake because it is
opposite of the child’s real wants and feelings
Carl Rogers
 This will create an incongruence between the real self
and the ideal self which in turn causes confusion and
 This is, of course, harmful to the healthy development
of the self
Congruent vs. Incongruent
Works Cited
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