The charm of the world around us is that it’s totally unpredictable. It puts us into the most unlikely, annoying, and challenging scenarios where we have to find our way through. And while some believe in luck, or lack thereof, others like to take matters into their own hands and use some pragmatic strategies. Like, psychological tricks.

And it turns out, most people have one ready when a particular situation strikes. From answering to “Why’s” in such a way that you redirect the question back to avoiding office small-talk so that nobody thinks you’re rude, to making yourself look like less of a self-obsessed jerk simply by replacing “I know” with “You’re right,” these are some of the biggest psychological tricks.

Shared in the comment section for the question “What is the most effective psychological 'trick' you use?” on r/AskReddit, some people seem to really know how to nail the mental game big time.

#1

Effective-Psychological-Tricks My 4-year-old got into the 'Why?' phase a little while back. I read an article that said the best way to get them to stop was to ask them, 'I'm not sure, what do you think?' It is a godsend. They answer their own question, you provide some feedback, and they immediately move on. [Freaking] awesome.

AD_Meridian , Free-Photos Report

Dynein
Community Member
1 month ago

Also gives them a chance to develop their skill of thinking through a problem, and for you to guide the process and point out things they overlook or get wrong. Teach thinking and solution finding!

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#2

Effective-Psychological-Tricks I work in an office. When people stop by my desk and refuse to leave me alone, I get up and refill my water bottle while they are talking to me. Instead of walking back to my desk, I walk them to theirs. They instinctively will sit down. Then I just sever the conversation and get back to work.

Electricpants , Andy Davies Report

A Cat Named Dragon
Community Member
1 month ago

This should be higher!

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#3

Effective-Psychological-Tricks When my wife is talking to a man about something technical, often he'll talk back to me. When that happens I turn to face my wife, which forces his attention where it should be.

stangelm , Julien Dumont Report

A Cat Named Dragon
Community Member
1 month ago

I do this when there are two people listening to someone tell a story and, for whatever reason, the person talking is only focusing on me but I wish they would instead focus kn the other person.

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To find out what an expert has to say about these psychological tricks, Bored Panda reached out to Susan Petang, a certified life coach, teaching adults and teens. Susan runs “The Quiet Zone Coaching” and she has now prepared a set of essential life skills and solution for anyone who’s preparing for the post-pandemic world.

When it comes to mind tricks, Susan said that everyone uses one from one time to time, even if they're unaware they're doing it. Moreover, “There are many psychological tricks floating around out there—I couldn't possibly name them all,” the life coach explained.

#4

Effective-Psychological-Tricks To avoid workplace drama and be liked, compliment people behind their back.

Unknown , Free-Photos Report

Aurelia!
Community Member
1 month ago

That's a sweet idea

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#5

Effective-Psychological-Tricks Be direct and personal when you need things. Instead of asking IF anyone has an EpiPen, ask WHO has an EpiPen. Instead of saying, 'Someone call 911,' point to someone and say, 'Go call 911 and come tell me when they are on the way.

Polyfkery , Tony Webster Report

Enuya
Community Member
1 month ago

Also, instead of "somebody help", try for example "you, in red t-shirt, help me". Person asked directly will be more likely to respond.

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#6

Effective-Psychological-Tricks If you look happy to see someone every time you see them, they will eventually be happy to see you.

2pass2 , Benjamin Linh VU Report

YourAveragePooh
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

I smile, You smile, We all Smile ;)

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“One I use frequently (which isn't really a 'trick,' but a communication tool) is called reflective listening,” Susan said and added: “Often other people just want to be heard, and this tool provides not only that, but helps clarify information so misunderstandings don't occur.”

Some examples of the reflective listening include: "It sounds like you feel...", "I'm hearing that you want...", "It seems like you're upset about...", "I see that you're feeling..."

#7

Effective-Psychological-Tricks Don’t apologise. Thank them.

When you’re delivering food that’s taken a while to cook don’t say “sorry for the delay,” say “thanks for your patience”

Saying sorry focuses on your fault. Thanking focuses on their good quality.

Conchobar8 , Sam Saunders Report

Jessica Shookhoff
Community Member
1 month ago

I actually do this with my kids when I can't get them what they want/need right away. It really does make a difference and reinforces positive behavior.

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#8

Effective-Psychological-Tricks I currently manage around 240 people among six restaurants. It is often hard to get them to do what is needed. I have found that saying, 'I need your help' is effective in getting them on board. People want to feel needed and that they are making a difference. Expressing that need to them as much as possible makes all the difference in the world.

aaronmicook , Neilvert Noval Report

Kevin Donegan
Community Member
1 month ago

Identify employees to be in charge of certain parts of the process ... if the drink station is always a mess, identify someone to routinely check on it and clean/organize as needed. If you see the drink station in chaos, go back to the person you put in charge and figure out what the issue is ... if "everybody" in charge of something, then "no one" is in charge because non one takes responsibility.

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#9

Effective-Psychological-Tricks Don’t say “it’s okay” when someone apologizes. Say something like, “thank you for apologizing.”

if someone needs to apologize to you, then it was something that isn’t okay. my mom teaches this to her kindergartners and it really does make a difference. opens doors for growth and conversation too. “thank you for apologizing, I don’t like it when you hit me.” or whatever.

katiebugdisney , Pedro Ribeiro Simões Report

H Edwards
Community Member
1 month ago

Unless the person apologising really doesn't need to. As a Brit, I probably apologise way too often.

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In fact, “a lot of those little psychological 'tricks' we use come from our families. We either mimic what we hear growing up, or do the opposite because, as we are more aware of those around us as we mature, we find the way we learned to communicate from our parents distasteful.”

Susan warns that “if you try using a style or a trick that doesn't feel right to you, it'll come off sounding fake and manipulative.”

#10

Effective-Psychological-Tricks Instead of asking, 'Do you have any questions?' I ask, 'What questions do you have?' The first almost always results in silence, while the second helps people feel comfortable asking questions.

MediocrePaladin , StockSnap Report

𝕥𝕠𝕒𝕤𝕥
Community Member
1 month ago

I wonder why this one works

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#11

Effective-Psychological-Tricks Saying 'You're right!' instead of 'I know' makes you look less like a [jerk] and doesn't diminish something someone else may have just found out.

FantomUnicorn , Pedro Ribeiro Simões Report

Susan Green
Community Member
1 month ago

This is so true. I wish more people knew this.

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#12

Effective-Psychological-Tricks On an airplane, if my seatmate is hogging the armrest or being too chatty, I grab the barf bag. Works every time.

ab82bank , Frankie Roberto Report

Friday
Community Member
1 month ago

This clears the aisle when exiting the plane too

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On the other hand, one should use mind tricks and tools with caution since Susan warned that it is possible to do more harm than good with little psychological tricks. “For example, one little trick I read about is thanking someone for a trait they don't have. While that is usually very effective, it can backfire. For example, if you thank a coworker for being patient when she wasn't, she may think you're accepting her impatient behavior as 'patient'—and behave that way again.”

She also said that “Every situation and person is different. It's tough to create blanket techniques for dealing with others that are always effective, so learning to read the moods and motivations of others is a great skill.”

#13

Effective-Psychological-Tricks When somebody shy is speaking, if you look at them and nod your head, it encourages them to keep talking.

unknown , Eugene Kim Report

troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

Many people don't listen at all, they just talk

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#14

Effective-Psychological-Tricks give kids 2 choices instead of letting them pick from whatever

you control.

could be 2 points of time. like "now" or in 10 minutes,

or do you want the red or the blue shirt on

things like that

works wonderfully. they feel in control, but have absolutely no control.

can work with some adults too

______-_-___ , Efraimstochter Report

Amy-Lee Kempi
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes! That's a good trick! If you leave too much choice, they will be indecisive, but give them option A or B and it will be easier to choose and they'll be happy with the results because they 'decided' the outcome.

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#15

Effective-Psychological-Tricks When I do something bothersome to my husband and he goes quiet, I wait a few minutes and then ask him a seemingly innocent question, usually on the subject of how certain parts of a car works. This gets him talking about the car thing and he rambles for like five minutes, and then, bam! He’s happy again and not quietly brooding. I’ll never tell him I do this because I’m afraid it won’t work anymore if he knows about it. It’s foolproof, though; it works every single time, no matter how bothered he is.

alskdjfhgtk , StockSnap Report

Kenya Tate
Community Member
1 month ago

Same with mine and work!

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If you ever wonder whether anything you say or do may harm another person, you may want to ask yourself a couple of check-up questions. Susan counsels her clients to ask themselves these questions when they need to decide what to say or how to behave: “Am I hurting someone else?” (Think carefully!); “Am I hurting myself?” (Think carefully!); “Am I willing to accept the consequences of this action?”; “Does this fit in with my value system?”; “Would the person I want to be (or my hero) do or say this?”; “Is it kind?” (Kindness trumps honesty every time—unless someone is about to walk off a cliff!)

#16

Effective-Psychological-Tricks "Tell me about your day. " instead of "How was your day?"

I do it when I really want to chat with a person and not get the usual "It's been OK" then nothing out of them after that.

Heard it on reddit a while back and I am amazed at how well it works. You get some info out of the person that you can maybe relate to, or help with or share similar ideas/stories.

Shuski_Cross , JourneyPure Rehab Report

Aurelia!
Community Member
1 month ago

I like this. When you don't say 'how was your day' it relieves some of the pressure to say 'good' or 'fine' and normalizes bad days. After all, bad days happen!

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#17

Effective-Psychological-Tricks When I have something important to say to my kids, I say it very quietly so that they listen. They're immune to my yelling, but whispering gets their attention.

LastUsernameAvail , Thaliesin Report

Jessica Shookhoff
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeah, I've tried that, too. Glad it works for your kids, lol

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#18

Effective-Psychological-Tricks If you need to deescalate someone and get them to communicate, ask them questions about numbers or personal information. I work in emergency services. If someone is totally distraught and shut down, asking their phone number, address, Social Security number, or birth date can pull them out of an emotional place and bring them back to a headspace where they can talk about what happened more easily. I often ask these questions even after I have the information, just to deescalate.

Orpheus91 , ernestoeslava Report

Viviane
Community Member
1 month ago

When my husband was mugged at knife point, he was too upset to act. I called the credit card company first, then got him on the phone to talk to them. Then I called the police, so he had to explain what happened.

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#19

Effective-Psychological-Tricks At this point it's pretty well known, but Ive been using it for a few decades and has a special spot for me because I 'came up with it' (and was probably the 3 billionth person to 'come up with it').

Flip a coin if you cant decide something, and then follow whether or not you feel happy or disappointed with the result that it gives you.

Erudite_Delirium , Buster Benson Report

ADHORTATOR
Community Member
1 month ago

I love this one

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#20

Effective-Psychological-Tricks I have a coworker who is an excessive talker. She has a heart of gold and means no harm whatsoever, but I don't have time to listen to her stream of consciousness every day. Anytime she comes into my office to chat, I give her a minute to get the gist out, and then I stand and walk out of my office. She always follows and continues yammering, and we walk right back to her cubicle. Sometimes I'll ditch her in the hallway under a guise of forgetting something at my desk. She hasnt noticed yet that I've been walking her back to her desk for months.

Tycho278 , vmiramontes Report

kasa alex
Community Member
1 month ago

I have a coworker like this!! She is one of the kindest people I know, but it can be tiring when she get chattering

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#21

Effective-Psychological-Tricks Put headphones in and play the music that fits your hoped-for mood. It shifts me over to it mentally. It really helps when I need to calm down or when I need to feel happier.

sunflowersfornudes , Tal Atlas Report

Aurelia!
Community Member
1 month ago

Yes! Music is magic

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#22

Effective-Psychological-Tricks When you are standing in a group and somebody tells a joke or something funny happens, people tend to look towards the person they like the most while laughing.

RiDDDiK1337 , Eugene Kim Report

Shelp
Community Member
1 month ago

This is a good, but also a dangerous advice

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#23

Effective-Psychological-Tricks If you're trying to pick out dinner with your partner, rather than ask, 'What do you want?' and getting the typical 'I don't know, anything' answer and then having suggestions shot down, start with, 'What do you NOT want? Used it a few times in some of my relationships, and it's the godsend question

FartKilometre , KaiPilger Report

Aurelia!
Community Member
1 month ago

I am SOOOO indecisive

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#24

Effective-Psychological-Tricks If I desperately need to poo and I'm on my way to the bathroom (eg. driving home or walking to one) I'll imagine it in my mind as being really far away. This stops the urgency and I find I can get there calmly :-)

Funny1sland , Logan Ingalls Report

DforDory
Community Member
1 month ago

Now this is practical,to be honest!

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#25

Effective-Psychological-Tricks If you need to remember something, think about it while doing something noticeably unusual. This will pair the memory with the "something", so that when it is noticed later on it will trigger that particular memory.



e.g. I need to take out the garbage before going to bed.

Put your pillow at the foot of your bed.

unknown , Hans Report

A Cat Named Dragon
Community Member
1 month ago

Good idea!

Freya the Wanderer
Community Member
1 month ago

I've done this for years. Works like a charm!

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Robert T
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm afraid I'd be "what the heck is this pillow doing on the foot of the bed".

Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeap yeap that's definitely me

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Fricsmom
Community Member
1 month ago

My sister and I move a ring to another finger. It feels weird and you’ll remember why you moved it.

Billy The Kid
Community Member
1 month ago

Thats a good one

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Bobert Robertson
Community Member
1 month ago

Lol I can just imagine on those busy days my wife being like, "Honey, what is the coffee pot doing upside down, the phone is in the fridge, watch in the sink, tv remote in your shoe, and the lightbulbs have been removed in both the kitchen and the bedroom?" and me: Umm I really don't remember, but I mowed the lawn"

Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeah and soon she will think you have some mental disorder and try to find a doctor for you I'm afraid...

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the annoying theatre kid
Community Member
1 month ago

this is embarrassing but i remember reading this in a diary of a wimpy kid book a few years back

Carolina Fernández González
Community Member
1 month ago

This one reminded me, that sometimes when I need to remember something I already did like for example: remember if I already took my medicine, I say something weird. I take my medicine and say "green unicorns" so I remember that I said something weird instead of forcing myself to think if I took my medicine or not.

Forrest McCanless
Community Member
1 month ago

"Put garbage on pillow" Spouse, "WTF?"

Vetus Vespertilio
Community Member
1 month ago

If you wake up in the night and want to remember something in the morning, write the key word backwards on your forehead with your finger. When you look in the mirror the next morning, you’ll “see“ the word right way around and the memory will come right back. I have no idea why this works but it’s never failed me.

Billy The Kid
Community Member
1 month ago

My nan used to do something like this. If she needed to get up at a certain time in the morning she would put water on her finger and write the number on her forehead. I dont know if it works but feel free to give it a go

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Jackie
Community Member
1 month ago

Only problem is I’ll probably forget why the pillow is there 😂

Jamie S. Martindale
Community Member
1 month ago

That always helps me remember to put my pillow in the trash

PandahhBeee
Community Member
1 month ago

When I am out for the whole day or away from home for a while I knock on the door 3 times so I remember I’ve locked the door properly

Easily Excitable Panda
Community Member
1 month ago

I used to tell students that if it's possible, study in the room where you're going to take the test. (Easier with Zoom classes, I imagine.) That way, you can look at familiar surroundings and it will help you remember the answer to a question.

Becky Samuel
Community Member
1 month ago

Also, smells are really potent triggers. Situational learning is a really useful tool in the box once you learn how to use it well. For example, sniffing an essential oil (or even just a scented eraser) can be a trigger for lost information so long as that scent was present when you learned it. Ditto for music. If you use a different scent/band/musical genre for each subject then it can substantially improve recall.

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Maciej Zajaczkowski
Community Member
1 month ago

This is from Diary of a Wimpy kid

Virgil Sanders
Community Member
1 month ago

lol that was my first thought

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Tim Haight
Community Member
1 month ago

the pillow will not work. I would just pick up the pillow and put it on the bed. Why not a note in the whiteboard on the refrigerator a reminder in Alexa

Billy The Kid
Community Member
1 month ago

I do this and it really works. Im a person who likes things in its place so if i see something that is not then it automatically reminds me why i did this.

Susan L. Miller
Community Member
1 month ago

I almost never use my handbrake, but when I do, I put my driving glasses case on top of it to remember when I get back in the car.

MikeMaxis
Community Member
1 month ago

Or like me I would put one shoe only by the front door when I need to take something on the way out.

Krisztina Hegedüs
Community Member
1 month ago

I used to keep forgetting taking off the transfer from the phone line so I started to put a pink/yellow etc highlighter on the phone so when I get back from break it would be grabbing my attention

Bunny Lady
Community Member
1 month ago

Now I just need to remember to do this! 😂

David Muench
Community Member
1 month ago

Unless you get confused and put your garbage at the foot of your bed.

Jane W.
Community Member
1 month ago

I do this, and then wonder why the pillow is there and who put it there. Useless to some brains.

Patricia the Grey
Community Member
1 month ago

I do this! I wonder if there is a name or term for it in psychology.

Mickie Shea
Community Member
1 month ago

Amazing idea. So like it.

Mumof1
Community Member
1 month ago

done this for years, and it works. Putting something in an unusual - but visible - pace jogs the memory.

Nul Nemo
Community Member
1 month ago

I do it all the tine, it's the associative memory technique. ;)

Llama_flower93
Community Member
1 month ago

I do this so much! I put my elastic band on my opposite wrist so I'll remember. I'll also imagine an action and associate the reminder to it. For example, turning off the lights means, I have to remember to put the milk away. Lol

Jo Johannsen
Community Member
1 month ago

When I need to get gas the next day, I lower the visor and slide open the mirror. Next trip, I remember immediately.

Inkblot Butterfly
Community Member
1 month ago

Like e.g- i need to do the laundry. What to do- STUDY AND DO UR HOMEWORK.... works when u open the first page of the book.

littlesaresare
Community Member
1 month ago

I do something similar to this if I remember something in the shower. Obviously I can't go do it or write it down at that moment, so I'll move the pot plant to the bathroom counter. Then when I get out and see it, it reminds me. Works maybe half the time. The other half I'm like "What did I have to remember!?: 😆

Frankenfrog
Community Member
1 month ago

Or just write a note and stick it on the door

Lynne Monteith
Community Member
1 month ago

For those of us in the Frozen North. Put the ice scraper on the steering wheel when you plug in your block heater for your car, so that you will remember to UNPLUG it before you drive off.

parmadillo
Community Member
1 month ago

If you want to reassure yourself that you did something before you leave the house, say it aloud when it’s done. “I turned off the stove!” Then you won’t be fretting about it when you’re driving away.

zite
Community Member
1 month ago

I heard a trick for a creativity block. Apparently if you take smth and put in another unusual place ( for example pen goes to the freezer) it will boost your creativity.

magnadar
Community Member
1 month ago

Mickey mouse always did a knot in his towel

Ece Cenker
Community Member
1 month ago

This works even if I don't pair it with something. The unusual position of that thing makes me stop and think which makes me remember.

Flying Captain
Community Member
1 month ago

And tell yourself "I want to remember to do xy." instead of "I have to/ I nedd to remember to do xy. /I can't forget to do xy. "

Sanne H.
Community Member
1 month ago

Or you can just keep your todo list on your nightstand.

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#26

Effective-Psychological-Tricks Making people think that you need them is always better than asking them to simply do something for you.

i.e: instead of saying: "Can you do this for me?" you should say: "Listen I need you help; I can't do this."

Makes people feel good about themselves and even like you on a deeper level.

Doctor_Philly , Nicki Dugan Pogue Report

What's In Your Head?
Community Member
1 month ago

This is certainly true, but please don't make it obvious that you're just using a trick on them. It would be nice if you actually meant it. I've been tricked like this multiple times by one person in charge in my first workplace. I fell for for it and felt incredibly flattered, but then I caught on and just felt stupid. I still do, and it's a LONG time ago.

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#27

Effective-Psychological-Tricks Say hello to everybody you know, and say it with a smile. Just imagine: If someone walks into you twice a year and both times you smile and greet them enthusiastically, they will think of you as a nice person. So little effort for a person to find you friendly!

sjuulbakkie , 818376 Report

Bobert Robertson
Community Member
1 month ago

"Hmmm Donny smiled at me both times I saw him, but both times he stole my wallet....I'm torn"

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#28

Effective-Psychological-Tricks If you hand something to someone they will take it. It’s a lot of fun

surrrah , thanospal Report

T.
Community Member
1 month ago

Had this once done to me with a baby... Her father was like: "Can you hold her real quick?" And I was so baffled I just took her on my arm even though I didn't actually wanna do it in the first place. Was a funny situation in the end.

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#29

Effective-Psychological-Tricks This is dumb and shouldn't work. But I'm a bartender. And if I ask someone if they want another drink and nod my head at the same time most people are inclined to do it.

LeadDeathKnight , StockSnap Report

Some Cool Guy
Community Member
1 month ago

Or most people just want another drink

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#30

Listen to someone without giving advice or asking for more information. This typically gets me more information than if I were to be pushy about it.

Drewby5 Report

Dynein
Community Member
1 month ago

Vague sounds of acknowledgement are good, which confirm you are actually listening but provide no further contribution. Best if they fit the intonation and emotion of what was said: Huh. Oh! Oh? God... Really? No way! etc

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