Grossiology:
How disgust shapes our social judgment
                       david pizarro
      cornell university/departme...
in collaboration with Yoel Inbar
   http://www.yoelinbar.net/
Disgust
Disgust




  “A sense of aversion to something perceived as
 dangerous because of its powers to contaminate,
infect, or p...
•   human universal
•   human universal
•   “basic” emotion:
    characteristic facial
    expression
•   human universal
•   “basic” emotion:
    characteristic facial
    expression
•   animals and animal by-
    products
•   human universal
•   “basic” emotion:
    characteristic facial
    expression
•   animals and animal by-
    products
...
•   human universal
•   “basic” emotion:
    characteristic facial
    expression
•   animals and animal by-
    products
...
•   human universal
•   “basic” emotion:
    characteristic facial
    expression
•   animals and animal by-
    products
...
•   human universal
•   “basic” emotion:
    characteristic facial
    expression
•   animals and animal by-
    products
...
•   human universal
•   “basic” emotion:
    characteristic facial
    expression
•   animals and animal by-
    products
...
•   human universal
•   “basic” emotion:
    characteristic facial
    expression
•   animals and animal by-
    products
...
•   human universal
•   “basic” emotion:
    characteristic facial
    expression
•   animals and animal by-
    products
...
•   human universal
•   “basic” emotion:
    characteristic facial
    expression
•   animals and animal by-
    products
...
dedicated neural structures?




•   brain imaging studies show anterior insula
    activation
•   patients with Huntingto...
*easily elicited
the effects of disgust


•   provides strong behavioral motivation to expel,
           avoid, push-away, get rid of, etc....
...emotions influence
                  judgment
  “The emotions are all those feelings that so change men as
 to affect th...
disgust and moral judgment
disgust and moral judgment

• disgust may be especially implicated in
  ethical systems which emphasize purity and
  divin...
disgust and moral judgment

• disgust may be especially implicated in
  ethical systems which emphasize purity and
  divin...
disgust and moral judgment

• disgust may be especially implicated in
  ethical systems which emphasize purity and
  divin...
disgust and moral judgment

• disgust may be especially implicated in
  ethical systems which emphasize purity and
  divin...
varieties of disgust

•       Core Disgust--I’m disgusted by rotten meat.
•       Moral Disgust--”I’m disgusted by G.W.”
 ...
distaste --> core disgust --> moral disgust
           Chapman et al, Science, 2009
disgust readily extends to people
disgust readily extends to people
disgust readily extends to people


                    “In Tierra del Fuego a native
                    touched with his...
disgust and dirty “others”
disgust and dirty “others”

“Thus, throughout history, certain disgust properties --
sliminess, bad smell, stickiness, dec...
“Just look at these guys! The
louse-infested beards! The filthy,
protruding ears, Those stained,
fatty clothes…

Jews ofte...
gays are…
• “worthy of death for their vile...sex practices…

• “filthy”

• like “dogs eating their own vomit and sows
wal...
gross [moral] offense?


“We’re living in a time that a lifestyle that at one time was on
the list of mental disorders, ca...
evidence: inducing core disgust
  makes individuals harsh moral
              judges
• study: dirty desks
  – Brought peop...
are people who are easily
disgusted more likely to adopt
some of these moral beliefs?
disgust sensitivity
  questionnaire
 (Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994)
disgust sensitivity
            questionnaire
            (Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994)

• sample items (“core disgust”...
disgust sensitivity
               questionnaire
                (Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994)

• sample items (“core d...
disgust sensitivity
               questionnaire
                (Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994)

• sample items (“core d...
disgust sensitivity
               questionnaire
                (Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994)

• sample items (“core d...
disgust sensitivity
               questionnaire
                (Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994)

• sample items (“core d...
disgust sensitivity
               questionnaire
                (Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994)

• sample items (“core d...
disgusting politics
disgust & political
         conservatism
Inbar, Pizarro & Bloom (2009) Cognition and Emotion, 23, 714-725.
disgust & political
             conservatism
    Inbar, Pizarro & Bloom (2009) Cognition and Emotion, 23, 714-725.




• ...
disgust & political
              conservatism
     Inbar, Pizarro & Bloom (2009) Cognition and Emotion, 23, 714-725.




...
disgust & political
              conservatism
     Inbar, Pizarro & Bloom (2009) Cognition and Emotion, 23, 714-725.




...
disgust & political
              conservatism
     Inbar, Pizarro & Bloom (2009) Cognition and Emotion, 23, 714-725.




...
follow-up study (cornell
       university)
follow-up study (cornell
            university)

• Full (32-item) DS Scale, better measure of political
  orientation, as...
follow-up study (cornell
            university)

• Full (32-item) DS Scale, better measure of political
  orientation, as...
follow-up study (cornell
            university)

• Full (32-item) DS Scale, better measure of political
  orientation, as...
follow-up study (cornell
            university)

• Full (32-item) DS Scale, better measure of political
  orientation, as...
follow-up study (cornell
            university)

• Full (32-item) DS Scale, better measure of political
  orientation, as...
more disgust sensitive = greater
  opposition to gay marriage
more disgust sensitive = greater
  opposition to gay marriage
more disgust sensitive = greater
     opposition to abortion
more disgust sensitive = greater
     opposition to abortion
disgust sensitivity not associated
                with:


• Death Penalty
• Affirmative Action
• Welfare
• Gun-Control
disgust sensitivity predicts
 implicit anti-gay attitudes
Inbar, Pizarro, Knobe & Bloom (2009) Emotion, 9, 435-439.

Strai...
disgust sensitivity predicts
       implicit anti-gay attitudes
        Inbar, Pizarro, Knobe & Bloom (2009) Emotion, 9, 4...
disgust sensitivity predicts
        implicit anti-gay attitudes
         Inbar, Pizarro, Knobe & Bloom (2009) Emotion, 9,...
disgust sensitivity predicts
         implicit anti-gay attitudes
         Inbar, Pizarro, Knobe & Bloom (2009) Emotion, 9...
disgust sensitivity predicts
        implicit anti-gay attitudes
         Inbar, Pizarro, Knobe & Bloom (2009) Emotion, 9,...
could manipulating disgust affect
        anti-gay bias?
could manipulating disgust affect
        anti-gay bias?
 • two studies conducted on cornell
   university undergraduates
could manipulating disgust affect
        anti-gay bias?
 • two studies conducted on cornell
   university undergraduates
...
could manipulating disgust affect
        anti-gay bias?
 • two studies conducted on cornell
   university undergraduates
...
could manipulating disgust affect
        anti-gay bias?
 • two studies conducted on cornell
   university undergraduates
...
could manipulating disgust affect
        anti-gay bias?
 • two studies conducted on cornell
   university undergraduates
...
bad smell = greater anti-gay
             feelings


                                                                  ,-....
“gut” morality
• The need to protect the body against
  contaminants likely gave rise to disgust
  reaction
• Strong, visc...
from dirt to cleanliness: the
       motivation to stay clean


• disgust mechanism = focus on contamination?
• could phys...
hand-washing and moral purity
• all participants brought into a lab and asked to
  complete demographics, political orient...
moral judgment items
                (examples)
• Moral (non-purity)
  – In order to increase her chances of getting a job...
moral judgment




y axis represents moral approval
No main effect of condition or item type
Condition X Item interaction,...
unexpected: clean hands affected
       political orientation
                     (higher numbers = more liberal)




y a...
political orientation?:
                 field study
• could a hand-washing reminder alone influence
  political orientati...
44
political orientation: field study
                (lower numbers = more conservative)




y axis represents self-reported...
should disgust/cleanliness play a
      role in moral judgment?
                   (Inbar & Pizarro, 2009)
• Leon Kass fam...
thank you!




For published papers mentioned here:
           www.peezer.net
Pizarro Ithaca Science Cabaret
Pizarro Ithaca Science Cabaret
Pizarro Ithaca Science Cabaret
Pizarro Ithaca Science Cabaret
Pizarro Ithaca Science Cabaret
Pizarro Ithaca Science Cabaret
Pizarro Ithaca Science Cabaret
Pizarro Ithaca Science Cabaret
Pizarro Ithaca Science Cabaret
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Pizarro Ithaca Science Cabaret
Pizarro Ithaca Science Cabaret
Pizarro Ithaca Science Cabaret
Pizarro Ithaca Science Cabaret
Pizarro Ithaca Science Cabaret
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    1. 1. Grossiology: How disgust shapes our social judgment david pizarro cornell university/department of psychology
    2. 2. in collaboration with Yoel Inbar http://www.yoelinbar.net/
    3. 3. Disgust
    4. 4. Disgust “A sense of aversion to something perceived as dangerous because of its powers to contaminate, infect, or pollute by proximity, contact, or ingestion.” (Miller, 1998).
    5. 5. • human universal
    6. 6. • human universal • “basic” emotion: characteristic facial expression
    7. 7. • human universal • “basic” emotion: characteristic facial expression • animals and animal by- products
    8. 8. • human universal • “basic” emotion: characteristic facial expression • animals and animal by- products • Feces
    9. 9. • human universal • “basic” emotion: characteristic facial expression • animals and animal by- products • Feces • Urine
    10. 10. • human universal • “basic” emotion: characteristic facial expression • animals and animal by- products • Feces • Urine • Blood
    11. 11. • human universal • “basic” emotion: characteristic facial expression • animals and animal by- products • Feces • Urine • Blood • Vomit
    12. 12. • human universal • “basic” emotion: characteristic facial expression • animals and animal by- products • Feces • Urine • Blood • Vomit • Rotten flesh
    13. 13. • human universal • “basic” emotion: characteristic facial expression • animals and animal by- products • Feces • Urine • Blood • Vomit • Rotten flesh • Most meat
    14. 14. • human universal • “basic” emotion: characteristic facial expression • animals and animal by- products • Feces • Urine • Blood • Vomit • Rotten flesh • Most meat • emerges (rather) late in development
    15. 15. • human universal • “basic” emotion: characteristic facial expression • animals and animal by- products • Feces • Urine • Blood • Vomit • Rotten flesh • Most meat • emerges (rather) late in development • protection against contamination
    16. 16. dedicated neural structures? • brain imaging studies show anterior insula activation • patients with Huntington’s Disease show disgust deficits (recognition of disgust faces, response to foul tastes and smells, self-report)
    17. 17. *easily elicited
    18. 18. the effects of disgust • provides strong behavioral motivation to expel, avoid, push-away, get rid of, etc. • but emotions don’t just influence behavior...
    19. 19. ...emotions influence judgment “The emotions are all those feelings that so change men as to affect their judgments, …such are anger, pity, fear and the like, with their opposites…. Take, for instance, the emotion of anger: here we must discover…what the state of mind of angry people is, who the people are with whom they usually get angry, and on what grounds they get angry with them. It is not enough to know one or even two of these points; …the same is true of the other emotions” (Aristotle, Rhetoric, Book 2, Chapter 1).
    20. 20. disgust and moral judgment
    21. 21. disgust and moral judgment • disgust may be especially implicated in ethical systems which emphasize purity and divinity (Haidt & Graham, 2006)
    22. 22. disgust and moral judgment • disgust may be especially implicated in ethical systems which emphasize purity and divinity (Haidt & Graham, 2006) • in these ethical systems, a cue to “badness” is “dirtiness”.
    23. 23. disgust and moral judgment • disgust may be especially implicated in ethical systems which emphasize purity and divinity (Haidt & Graham, 2006) • in these ethical systems, a cue to “badness” is “dirtiness”. –conversely, clean = morally good
    24. 24. disgust and moral judgment • disgust may be especially implicated in ethical systems which emphasize purity and divinity (Haidt & Graham, 2006) • in these ethical systems, a cue to “badness” is “dirtiness”. –conversely, clean = morally good • inducing disgust for an individual can lead to a diminished moral respect and/or harsher treatment (Haidt & Wheatley, 2005; Schnall, Haidt & Clore, 2006)
    25. 25. varieties of disgust • Core Disgust--I’m disgusted by rotten meat. • Moral Disgust--”I’m disgusted by G.W.” • Metaphorical? • Real disgust? • Recent neurological evidence (Moll et al., 2005), and facial EMG data (Chapman et al., 2009)
    26. 26. distaste --> core disgust --> moral disgust Chapman et al, Science, 2009
    27. 27. disgust readily extends to people
    28. 28. disgust readily extends to people
    29. 29. disgust readily extends to people “In Tierra del Fuego a native touched with his finger some cold preserved meat while I was eating at our bivoac; and plainly showed disgust at its softness; whilst I felt utter disgust at my food being touched by a naked savage, though his hands did not appear dirty”
    30. 30. disgust and dirty “others”
    31. 31. disgust and dirty “others” “Thus, throughout history, certain disgust properties -- sliminess, bad smell, stickiness, decay, foulness -- have repeatedly and monotonously been associated with… Jews, women, homosexuals, untouchables, lower-class people -- all of those are imagined as tainted by the dirt of the body” - Martha Nussbaum
    32. 32. “Just look at these guys! The louse-infested beards! The filthy, protruding ears, Those stained, fatty clothes… Jews often have an unpleasant sweetish odor. If you have a good nose, you can smell the Jews." (Nazi Children’s Book, 1938)
    33. 33. gays are… • “worthy of death for their vile...sex practices… • “filthy” • like “dogs eating their own vomit and sows wallowing in their own feces” -www.godhatesfags.com
    34. 34. gross [moral] offense? “We’re living in a time that a lifestyle that at one time was on the list of mental disorders, called sodomy, is now called an alternative lifestyle. The Bible calls it abomination. Abomination is something disgusting.” Pastor Tim Oldfield, quoted in Kingdom Coming (pp. 74)
    35. 35. evidence: inducing core disgust makes individuals harsh moral judges • study: dirty desks – Brought people into the lab to fill out questionnaires asking for moral judgments • e.g., Joe stole 50 dollars from his friend – Completed them on a dirty, disgusting desk vs. on a clean desk • study: hypnotic disgust – Participants were hypnotized and told to feel flashes of disgust when they read a trivial word – Disgust made people more harsh in their judgments of others • In both cases, people were harsher in their judgments of others.
    36. 36. are people who are easily disgusted more likely to adopt some of these moral beliefs?
    37. 37. disgust sensitivity questionnaire (Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994)
    38. 38. disgust sensitivity questionnaire (Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994) • sample items (“core disgust”) :
    39. 39. disgust sensitivity questionnaire (Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994) • sample items (“core disgust”) : - I try to avoid letting any part of my body touch the toilet seat in a public restroom, even when it appears clean.
    40. 40. disgust sensitivity questionnaire (Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994) • sample items (“core disgust”) : - I try to avoid letting any part of my body touch the toilet seat in a public restroom, even when it appears clean. - Even if I were hungry, I would not drink a bowl of my favorite soup if it had been stirred by a used but thoroughly washed fly-swatter.
    41. 41. disgust sensitivity questionnaire (Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994) • sample items (“core disgust”) : - I try to avoid letting any part of my body touch the toilet seat in a public restroom, even when it appears clean. - Even if I were hungry, I would not drink a bowl of my favorite soup if it had been stirred by a used but thoroughly washed fly-swatter. - While you are walking through a tunnel under a railroad track, you smell urine.
    42. 42. disgust sensitivity questionnaire (Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994) • sample items (“core disgust”) : - I try to avoid letting any part of my body touch the toilet seat in a public restroom, even when it appears clean. - Even if I were hungry, I would not drink a bowl of my favorite soup if it had been stirred by a used but thoroughly washed fly-swatter. - While you are walking through a tunnel under a railroad track, you smell urine. • not the same as other personality measures
    43. 43. disgust sensitivity questionnaire (Haidt, McCauley, & Rozin, 1994) • sample items (“core disgust”) : - I try to avoid letting any part of my body touch the toilet seat in a public restroom, even when it appears clean. - Even if I were hungry, I would not drink a bowl of my favorite soup if it had been stirred by a used but thoroughly washed fly-swatter. - While you are walking through a tunnel under a railroad track, you smell urine. • not the same as other personality measures • predicts behavior
    44. 44. disgusting politics
    45. 45. disgust & political conservatism Inbar, Pizarro & Bloom (2009) Cognition and Emotion, 23, 714-725.
    46. 46. disgust & political conservatism Inbar, Pizarro & Bloom (2009) Cognition and Emotion, 23, 714-725. • N=181 participants from Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois (“swing” states)
    47. 47. disgust & political conservatism Inbar, Pizarro & Bloom (2009) Cognition and Emotion, 23, 714-725. • N=181 participants from Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois (“swing” states) – Disgust Sensitivity correlated with political conservatism, r(181) = .21, p < .01.
    48. 48. disgust & political conservatism Inbar, Pizarro & Bloom (2009) Cognition and Emotion, 23, 714-725. • N=181 participants from Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois (“swing” states) – Disgust Sensitivity correlated with political conservatism, r(181) = .21, p < .01. • N=82 UCI undergrads
    49. 49. disgust & political conservatism Inbar, Pizarro & Bloom (2009) Cognition and Emotion, 23, 714-725. • N=181 participants from Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, Illinois (“swing” states) – Disgust Sensitivity correlated with political conservatism, r(181) = .21, p < .01. • N=82 UCI undergrads – Disgust Sensitivity correlated with Political Conservatism; r(82)=.29, p < .01
    50. 50. follow-up study (cornell university)
    51. 51. follow-up study (cornell university) • Full (32-item) DS Scale, better measure of political orientation, asked about specific political beliefs
    52. 52. follow-up study (cornell university) • Full (32-item) DS Scale, better measure of political orientation, asked about specific political beliefs • DS and Political Conservatism, r(81) = .26, p < .05.
    53. 53. follow-up study (cornell university) • Full (32-item) DS Scale, better measure of political orientation, asked about specific political beliefs • DS and Political Conservatism, r(81) = .26, p < .05. • Explained by sociomoral beliefs
    54. 54. follow-up study (cornell university) • Full (32-item) DS Scale, better measure of political orientation, asked about specific political beliefs • DS and Political Conservatism, r(81) = .26, p < .05. • Explained by sociomoral beliefs – Gay Marriage
    55. 55. follow-up study (cornell university) • Full (32-item) DS Scale, better measure of political orientation, asked about specific political beliefs • DS and Political Conservatism, r(81) = .26, p < .05. • Explained by sociomoral beliefs – Gay Marriage – Abortion
    56. 56. more disgust sensitive = greater opposition to gay marriage
    57. 57. more disgust sensitive = greater opposition to gay marriage
    58. 58. more disgust sensitive = greater opposition to abortion
    59. 59. more disgust sensitive = greater opposition to abortion
    60. 60. disgust sensitivity not associated with: • Death Penalty • Affirmative Action • Welfare • Gun-Control
    61. 61. disgust sensitivity predicts implicit anti-gay attitudes Inbar, Pizarro, Knobe & Bloom (2009) Emotion, 9, 435-439. Straight Gay
    62. 62. disgust sensitivity predicts implicit anti-gay attitudes Inbar, Pizarro, Knobe & Bloom (2009) Emotion, 9, 435-439. Straight Gay • N = 48 Cornell Undergraduates
    63. 63. disgust sensitivity predicts implicit anti-gay attitudes Inbar, Pizarro, Knobe & Bloom (2009) Emotion, 9, 435-439. Straight Gay • N = 48 Cornell Undergraduates • Given Disgust-Sensitivity Scale, Political Items, and Gay/Straight IAT
    64. 64. disgust sensitivity predicts implicit anti-gay attitudes Inbar, Pizarro, Knobe & Bloom (2009) Emotion, 9, 435-439. Straight Gay • N = 48 Cornell Undergraduates • Given Disgust-Sensitivity Scale, Political Items, and Gay/Straight IAT • Disgust Sensitivity predicts implicit anti-gay attitudes
    65. 65. disgust sensitivity predicts implicit anti-gay attitudes Inbar, Pizarro, Knobe & Bloom (2009) Emotion, 9, 435-439. Straight Gay • N = 48 Cornell Undergraduates • Given Disgust-Sensitivity Scale, Political Items, and Gay/Straight IAT • Disgust Sensitivity predicts implicit anti-gay attitudes • Follow-up: disgust sensitivity correlated with the extent to which people perceive encouraging homosexuality as intentional
    66. 66. could manipulating disgust affect anti-gay bias?
    67. 67. could manipulating disgust affect anti-gay bias? • two studies conducted on cornell university undergraduates
    68. 68. could manipulating disgust affect anti-gay bias? • two studies conducted on cornell university undergraduates • first completed a political attitudes questionnaire
    69. 69. could manipulating disgust affect anti-gay bias? • two studies conducted on cornell university undergraduates • first completed a political attitudes questionnaire • next completed a gay/lesbian feeling thermometer
    70. 70. could manipulating disgust affect anti-gay bias? • two studies conducted on cornell university undergraduates • first completed a political attitudes questionnaire • next completed a gay/lesbian feeling thermometer • manipulation
    71. 71. could manipulating disgust affect anti-gay bias? • two studies conducted on cornell university undergraduates • first completed a political attitudes questionnaire • next completed a gay/lesbian feeling thermometer • manipulation –for half of the participants, a foul odor was sprayed in the garbage can of the lab
    72. 72. bad smell = greater anti-gay feelings ,-./0*1$ 2314536$ 738039.$ )*+$ !"#$ !%&$ !%#$ !'&$ !'#$ !(&$ !(#$ !&$ #$ *straight-gay diff., standardized
    73. 73. “gut” morality • The need to protect the body against contaminants likely gave rise to disgust reaction • Strong, visceral motivation to avoid and expel foul stimuli • Applied to people, it can lead to harsh judgments and moral rejection when individuals and groups are perceived as disgusting.
    74. 74. from dirt to cleanliness: the motivation to stay clean • disgust mechanism = focus on contamination? • could physical cleanliness also give rise to a similar concern with contamination? – once your car is washed, vigilant of puddles and parking under trees – teeth-cleaning makes me avoid coffee for a day or two
    75. 75. hand-washing and moral purity • all participants brought into a lab and asked to complete demographics, political orientation (moral, fiscal, social) • moral judgment items –moral purity (non-sexual) –moral purity (sexual) –moral (non-purity) • in hand washing condition, big sign to remind participants to wash hands • asked to wash hands before moral judgment items (or not)
    76. 76. moral judgment items (examples) • Moral (non-purity) – In order to increase her chances of getting a job at a prestigious firm, a college graduate writes an reference letter that honestly details her strengths, but signs it with the name of a former boss (whom she knew liked her). • Moral (sexual purity) – After they have been sexually active for over a year, a woman and her boyfriend discover that they have the same father-- they are actually half brother and sister, but were raised in separate families from the time they were born. They decide that the new information doesn't matter, and continue their sexual relationship. The couple is careful to use protection.
    77. 77. moral judgment y axis represents moral approval No main effect of condition or item type Condition X Item interaction, F (2, 58) = 3.90, p < .05 Condition simple effect significant for sexual purity items only, t (60) = 3.04, p < .01
    78. 78. unexpected: clean hands affected political orientation (higher numbers = more liberal) y axis represents self-reported liberalism (social, moral, fiscal) t (60) = 3.09, p < .01
    79. 79. political orientation?: field study • could a hand-washing reminder alone influence political orientation in a public setting? • participants randomly asked to complete one- page demographic questionnaire including 3 political orientation items • either asked to do it “by the hand cleaning” stand (placed on the left or right of the entrance to building) 43
    80. 80. 44
    81. 81. political orientation: field study (lower numbers = more conservative) y axis represents self-reported liberalism (social, moral, fiscal) t (52) = 2.31, p < .05
    82. 82. should disgust/cleanliness play a role in moral judgment? (Inbar & Pizarro, 2009) • Leon Kass famously argued that disgust was a reliable cue that something was wrong. – Without disgust we are “souls who have forgotten to shudder”. • nonetheless, the degree to which disgust can unduly influence judgments of individuals and groups should lead us to be wary of its effects. • an emotion that arose in order to keep us from eating poisons should perhaps not be used to determine the moral worth of others
    83. 83. thank you! For published papers mentioned here: www.peezer.net

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