Articles about introverts and extroverts

What Introverts and Extroverts Can Do to Get Happier

“How to Build a Lifeis a weekly column by Arthur Brooks, tackling questions of meaning and happiness.

A year before the pandemic changed all of our lives, a friend sent me a link to a survey based on academic research that rates your personality traits on a numeric scale. He was particularly keen to know my extroversion score, to see if the test was accurate. His results had shown that he scored at the 15th percentile. He sent it to me as the most extroverted person he knows. Sure enough, I scored at the 96th percentile.

“Lucky you,” he remarked, “extroverts are a lot happier.” He was right about that, on average. Decades of research have consistently shown that extroverts have a significant happiness edge over introverts. They report higher levels of general well-being as well as more frequent moments of joy.

COVID-19, however, has given us extroverts our comeuppance. Research published in March in the scientific journal PLOS One studied the impact of the pandemic on people with various personality characteristics. The authors found that mood worsened for extroverts but improved for introverts. As my friend said, only half joking, “Why don’t we just stay locked down forever?”

In ordinary times, American introverts are like cats living in Dogland: underappreciated, uncomfortable, and slightly out of place. A side effect of shutting down the world was to turn it into Catland, at least for a little while. That gave the introverts a chance to lord their solitary comfort over the rest of us, for once. To this I say, “Woof.”

But the temporary shift has also created a kind of social-science field experiment, highlighting all the ways in which introverts and extroverts can learn from each other. If we take the lessons to heart, we can all benefit.

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Psychologists see extroversion as one of the Big Five personality traits, along with agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. The Big Five theory has been a staple of psychology since the 1980s, but the introvert-extrovert binary was first popularized in 1921 by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who posited that the two groups have different primary life goals. The former, he thought, seek to establish autonomy and independence; the latter seek union with others. Those stereotypes have persisted to this day.

The German-born psychologist Hans Eysenck further developed Jung’s theory in the 1960s, arguing that our genetics determine our relative extroversion. He believed that cortical arousal—that is, the brain’s level of alertness—was more difficult for extroverts than introverts, so the former seek stimulation in the company of others, ideally the fresh company of new people. Subsequent research has shown mixed results on Eysenck’s specific theory, but has found clear cognitive differences between the groups.

One common explanation for the happiness differential between introverts and extroverts follows from stereotypes like Jung and Eysenck’s: Humans are inherently social animals, so contact brings happiness; extroverts seek out contact, so extroverts are happier. The fact that introverts prefer solitude and often struggle with sociability doesn’t mean that avoiding contact makes them happier. It just means they prefer something that makes them unhappy. Nothing strange here—you can also prefer unhealthy food.

There are complementary cultural explanations for the happiness differential. To begin with, extroversion is highly rewarded in American society, and predicts a significant edge in earning power—on average, extroverts make about $12,000 more per year than introverts. Extroverts attain other advantages in the workplace as well, such as promotions to leadership positions and high performance evaluations.

Some resent these patterns, and believe they show a lack of cultural depth. In her book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, Susan Cain lists the many advances made by introverts—from the theory of gravity to Google—and argues that admiring and rewarding extroversion is not just unfair, but hinders progress. If you ever feel disillusioned by Americans’ habit of elevating egotistical-yet-charismatic leaders, you might have to admit that Cain has a point.

Whether we are introverts or extroverts, we don’t need to regret our sojourn to Catland or dread the return to Dogland. On the contrary, each group can teach the other a lesson that can improve all of our well-being.

1. Introverts should focus more on the future, like extroverts do.

In 2001, a group of Oxford scholars broke a sample of survey respondents into four groups: happy extroverts, unhappy extroverts, happy introverts, and unhappy introverts. As expected, the happy extroverts outnumbered the happy introverts, by about two to one. But the researchers were more interested in what drove the rare happy introvert’s relatively high well-being.

They found the same characteristics among both happy groups: optimism, a sense of life purpose, and self-esteem. Extroverts, of course, love to talk to others about the future, their dreams, their life’s purpose. As psychologists have long shown, we tend to act according to the commitments we have articulated to others, so the extrovert habit of telling everyone you meet about your goals makes you more likely to reach them and therefore get happier.

Happy introverts have figured out how to envision the future without all the (uncomfortable, for them) personal sharing with lots of people. They tend to have close one-on-one friendships instead, where they can share their dreams if and when they choose.

2. Extroverts should work on deep friendships, which introverts tend to have more of.

Intimate friendships are not only good for sharing your dreams. They are also a clear and direct producer of happiness. In particular, forging close friendships with people from whom you have nothing to gain is an intense source of satisfaction. But doing so isn’t easy, especially for extroverts, because of their love of crowds, audiences, fresh contact, and excitement.

The pandemic’s pause in life’s rhythms has left society’s dogs in a state of social withdrawal, explaining the current happiness inversion. But it also presents an opportunity for extroverts to cultivate more real friendships like introverts have. While this might not be the natural tendency—research shows that extroverts tend to have a lot of low-depth friendships with other extroverts—it is more optimal for happiness. Extroverts should set a goal for the next few weeks and months to deepen one friendship before life returns to normal.

If they don’t know how to begin, they should just watch a happy introvert do it. I am a dog, but my 18-year-old daughter is a cat. She and her closest cat-friend talk for an hour or two every day, making a point to update each other on their life plans. Find your nearest happy cats and act like them.

Beyond the specifics of introversion and extroversion, there is one important lesson in all this: Watching and learning from people very different from you is a great way to learn to be happier. Indeed, a love of human diversity of all types, from culture to character to politics, is required for a full education in well-being.

None of us has a lock on the best practices, and surrounding ourselves with people just like us will not inspire new ideas to raise our life satisfaction. For the happiest world, we need cats and dogs—together.

The Benefits of Rethinking Our Introvert And Extrovert Labels

“Are you an introvert or an extrovert?” It’s such a common, casual question. Often, it’s part of a getting-to-know-you exercise—whether formal or not.

And if you’re like me, you probably want to answer: “It depends.” 

Because, duh—we’re different depending on the situation. Lots of public speakers are energetic on a stage… and then quiet at the networking reception afterward (I’m one of those!). And I know plenty of people who are the life of the party at happy hour after work, but totally shy in the staff meeting. 

The introversion <> extroversion spectrum has been a mainstay of personality psychology research for decades. That’s in part because it’s easy to ask people about. But psychologists admit that the standard test for introversion/extroversion typically only tells us how people feel and behave in an average situation. It doesn’t account for scenarios like staff meetings vs. happy hours vs. public speeches.

Complicating things even more, recent psychology research has made clear that there are very different types of introverts and extroverts—the terms are plagued with “persistent conceptual ambiguity”—yet the decades-old tests we use will put a person who is quiet because they like to think in the same “introvert” bucket as someone who is quiet because they are scared of social situations

(Contemporary psychologists have broken introversion down into four types: social, thinking, anxious, and restrained. And they’ve shown that extroversion comes in many flavors as well, e.g. assertiveness, excitement-seeking, gregariousness, positive emotion, warmth. )

That’s why, outside of scholarly research, it’s unclear how helpful personality tests like The Big 5 actually are to us regular people in our work or lives. 

So you scored a 3.5 out of 5 on General Extroversion… what now?


This has bothered me for some time. But at a recent Templeton Foundation talk I attended by psychology professor Ethan Kross (he runs the Emotion & Self Control Lab at the University of Michigan), something clicked into place for me that I thought was worth digging into (and sharing with you). 

Dr. Kross is the author of the forthcoming book Chatter, which is about the power of our “inner voice.” And in the middle of a broader conversation about psychological tendencies and self-talk, he used the phrase “capacity for introspection.”

Now, introspection isn’t the exact same thing as introversion, but one of the flavors of introversion is one in which a person tends to turn inward and focus deeply on their inner thoughts. Introspection, we could say, is doing that thoughtfully and deliberately.

And this—introspection—is something that we know people can get better at with practice. Just like we can get better at being outgoing in social situations or as a public speaker with practice.

So what if, instead of thinking about ourselves as existing somewhere on a spectrum between introversion and extroversion, we thought of ourselves as having the capacity for both?

In other words, instead of an either/or, what if introversion and extroversion were more like meter bars we could fill up?

A more practical way for everyday people to think about introversion and extroversion.

Shane Snow

For decades, we thought (and were taught) that personalities don’t really change, except over long periods of time—like from childhood to adulthood. But in recent years, psychology experiments on volitional personality change by researchers like Drs. Nathan Hudson and R.C. Fraley have shown that not only can people successfully work on changing facets of their personalities, but introversion/extroversion is one of the areas where we’re most able to practice different behaviors and successfully change our tendencies.

Now, many psychologists still disagree on the definitions of introversion/extroversion—and for years many of us have been told that these traits are about whether you get energy from being alone or with others—so I anticipate some arguments here on the scholarly side. (BTW the energy thing only explains some kinds of introverts and extroverts; e.g. the introversion sub-type “restrained” has little to do with giving or getting energy from people, nor does the extroversion sub-type “assertive.”)

But when we, as people navigating real life, start to think about introversion and extroversion as practical capacities we can tap into—even when it’s against our nature—we suddenly open up some exciting opportunities for ourselves:

The Benefits of Increasing Our Capacity for Extroversion

One of the things that backfires about using personality tests to categorize ourselves into buckets like Introvert or Extrovert (outside of research, where scholars are looking at populations broadly) is it leads us to say things to ourselves like, “I’m not extroverted.And that’s incredibly limiting. Where can you go from “I’m not”?

But contrast that with saying, “My current capacity for extroversion is low.” 

Now that gives you room for growth. (And by the way, if you want to learn all about subtle shifts in self-talk like this, you really should check out Dr. Kross’s Chatter.)

And what does a capacity for extroversion look like in practice? If we’re just talking about extroversion in the workplace, the following come to mind immediately:

  • Having the confidence to speak up with your point of view.
  • Being able to capably present your ideas in front of a group.
  • Easily approaching people to ask them for help (or offer help).
  • Being able to be present “in the moment,” so you can learn and notice (and enjoy!) important things, instead of just being in your head.

It’s hard to argue that any of those are a bad thing to be able to do. They make a huge difference the above ability makes for inclusion, productivity, career growth, etc.!

Of course, if we limit ourselves by thinking that we’re just extroverts, we’ll miss out on a lot of other important things, too.

The Benefits of Increasing Our Capacity for Introversion

“If you were always ‘in the moment,’ you wouldn’t be able to solve problems nearly as well” as if you had the capacity to take time to sit alone and think deeply, Dr. Kross said in the talk I mentioned above.

Being able to turn inward is incredibly valuable. Even the most outgoing, irrepressible people can afford to develop this capacity. (Perhaps especially them!)

So what does a capacity for introversion look like in practice? I’d suggest the following as a starting point: 

  • Being able to put a time buffer between events that happen to us and our reactions to those events.
  • Reflecting on what we’ve learned through our experiences and integrating them as lessons into our lives.
  • Being able to think about and understand our own emotions. (One of the benefits of emotional intelligence skills that my academy teaches in this class here, by the way.)
  • Being able to sit and think deeply about things, so we can solve problems more innovatively. (The famous Albert Einstein quote comes to mind here: “If I had an hour to solve a problem I'd spend 55 minutes thinking about the problem and 5 minutes thinking about solutions.”)

(By the way, Susan Cain’s book Quiet is a masterpiece on the subject of what we can all learn from successful introverts. I highly recommend it.)

Why Would We Limit Ourselves to Either/Or?

I like breaking introversion and extroversion down this way because it gives us concrete things to work on, rather than a diagnosis to walk around with.

We can practice speaking up—little by little. We can practice our presentation skills. We can practice mindfulness. We can practice introspection and reflection through journaling. And so on.

We know from science that our personalities can and do change over the course of our lives. (Another great book on this subject: Dr. Benjamin Hardy’s Personality Isn’t Permanent.)

So why don’t we start thinking of things like introversion and extroversion as capacities we can develop? I know for me, that makes personal growth sound a lot less daunting than “changing who you are.”

Shane Snow is author of Dream Teams and founder of Snow Academy.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here. 

The whole truth about introverts and extroverts - Psychology on


If it seems to you that you are an introvert or an extrovert, do not rush to conclusions. In fact, it may indicate certain disorders. Psychologists do not talk about this, but the author of these concepts himself warned about this.

The basis of human intelligence is the ability to categorize. We put everything on the shelves in our head for the speed of memorization and recall: edible-inedible. Safe is dangerous. Friend or foe. One is many. Good evil. We also categorize others and ourselves. Strong-weak, tall-low, handsome-ugly, rich-poor, etc. You do not need to think every time what kind of person you are, it is enough to decide once. Therefore, our desire to ascribe to ourselves or someone else any category is understandable. And then you can assign a category to a category. For example. Desirable-unwanted, beautiful-ugly, strong-weak, smart-stupid. What suits men better, and what - women ? These are the very categories into which society and each person drives himself. Attitudes instilled from childhood for the benefit of those who use these attitudes. Men's work and women's logic. Female beauty and male cruelty. And the fact that an intelligent person is very rarely cruel is of little interest to anyone. Remembering the most intelligent representatives of mankind - how many hard ones come to mind?

Extraversion and introversion - these two words mean different directions, from the Latin words: intro-vers-io; extra-vers-io. Intro - inside, Extra - outside. Vers - orientation (Vice versa - vice versa). Io is a noun postfix. For example: advert (direct to yourself), versus - (face to). Total translation, literally: "introversion - direction inward", "extraversion - direction outward". In psychiatry, it denotes locus of control , in everyday life - the outdated classification of Hippocrates according to the type of fluid prevailing in the body: black bile and lymph in introverts, blood and bile in extroverts. Further, Jung used typology to classify experiences. Further, he criticized colleagues who used his topology for labeling. There is also Eysenck, but I do not approve of racist work. Besides, he just copied Jung.

> Jung, 2001, Preface to the Argentine edition, p. 45: “Even in medical circles, there is an opinion that my method of treatment is to fit patients into my system and give them appropriate “advice”. This unfortunate misunderstanding completely ignores the fact that this kind of classification is nothing but parlor child's play, every element of which is as trifling as the division of mankind into brachiocephalic and dolichocephalic. My typology is first and foremost a critical apparatus that serves to distribute and organize the welter of empirical material, but is in no sense intended to label people, as it might seem at first glance.

And if you use the ratio scale interesting-boring, to a specific society in which a person is currently , then the category of introversion-extraversion appears. But, this scale does not take into account one person, but the attitude of people to society. And this category cannot describe the person himself without society. Relationships are influenced not only by the personality of the individual, but also by the specific society with which the individual builds relationships and the environment in which this society is located. As well as the prerequisites for communication and a bunch of other factors.

But because we energy-efficient biological systems (lazy animals) - we observe a person who is cheerful and sociable and say that he is an extrovert. If the next time we see him depressed, let's say that he is an extrovert with a bad mood. We simplify to the average value of this characteristic for a person in the relationships that we can observe. Talkative - not talkative. And if a person is talkative and cheerful with everyone except you personally, then what is he like? Then another scale is already used, friend or foe. And vice versa, talkative with you, but not with others.

Let's say there is "Adam" - the first guy in the village and the soul of the company. Cheerful, tall, vast experience in psychological manipulation of emotions and threats. Clearly an extrovert.

There is a famous musician "Avraham", in his social circle - only his friend manager. Genius, unusually passionate about music. Around him are crowds of admirers and fans, girls jump out of their shorts. Lonely, shy and timid. Most of the time he spends with his guitar, or uses substances to relieve stress.

Place Adam in the society he is least likely to be in - the what-where-when game. Despite the fact that this is a television game, there is also an "individual-society" relationship in it, but in this case, the quality of the individual's personality "extrovert" will not justify itself.

Place Abraham in the society in which he is least likely to be - a society in which he will be admired by almost everyone. Where around the personality is so multifaceted and can create masterpieces of art, including music, from which he is breathtaking. And he himself will become a fan who will seek the attention of his idols, look for opportunities to talk and meet. In this case, the quality of the individual "introvert" will not justify itself.

i.e. personality disorders manifest themselves depending on many factors, but since animals are lazy - they use the tools they have. And the categorization tool or "shortcut" is innate. And hanging a label - you determine your attitude towards a person for a long time, including yourself. You have to be careful when using labels.

The profanation of this has clearly negative consequences for society in the Russian Federation. Obviously, introversion has a negative connotation for assessing the personality as such, which in turn, through a self-fulfilling prophecy, creates a lot of problems. A person who considers himself an introvert is more likely to voluntarily refuse to communicate, including marriage games, and participate in public life. The negative attitude of society towards introverts leads to a state of low self-esteem, because. society pushes for self-reflection, but the problem in relationships is not inside, but outside, which only exacerbates the situation. On the part of society, the introvert will be deprived of positive social strokes, which also leads to the alienation of the individual from society.

An extrovert will have difficulty communicating and interacting with people because is not able to understand the interlocutor, but replaces communication as communication with communication as entertainment, communication decreases from the cultural level to the level of physiology: emotions, physical impact, screams, laughter and other physiological manifestations. And problems in relationships are viewed from the outside, in the environment and others, although they are inside. Which only exacerbates the problem. An extrovert reaches out to a person, but he is protected from him, which causes misunderstanding and aggression, because. he will consider the causes in that person, and not in himself. On the part of society, such an individual will receive much less support and attention, which leads to even more extensive actions of the individual in order to attract attention and attempts to gain approval.

According to the ICD-11 classification, the most similar disorders in terms of the nature of manifestations are: dependent personality disorder for extroverts, anxiety personality disorder - for introverts. At the same time, if you endure loneliness without problems, this does not mean that you are an introvert. It just means that you don't show symptoms of an addictive disorder. And if you feel comfortable in the company and like to communicate with people, it means that you do not have social isolation.

Put a plus: it's not difficult for you, it's nice for me =) Thank you for your attention.

what personality types are and how they differ, who are ambiverts

Many people think that an introvert and an extrovert are just two sides of the same coin. Will you stay at home on Friday night or meet up with friends? Will you be the center of attention or away from the spotlights? In fact, a person is not white or black, there are no pure types in psychology, experts assure. There are people, for example, very tall or short, but most strive for average values. So it is with extroversion. This is just one of the five main personality traits (openness to new things, conscientiousness, pleasantness, neuroticism), so it cannot completely determine our behavior. Let's take a closer look at what introvert and extrovert mean.



Psychology of communication



The famous psychiatrist Carl Jung at the beginning of the 20th century identified types of people - extroverts and introverts. In psychology, this distinction became convenient and popular, and over time began to be used to define a person in ordinary life. Knowing who you belong to, it is easier to understand yourself and choose a circle of friends. Sometimes it seems to us that the world is ruled and dominated by extroverts. Although in reality, they can simply make themselves louder, making more noise. But is the gap really that deep between an introvert and an extrovert? Do the former really need help and support in order to develop their own talents and not remain on the margins?

Everything is not as categorical as it seems at first glance. Yes, open and closed people exist. But there are many examples when an extrovert and an introvert behave in unexpected ways, because each person throughout life demonstrates flexibility and opens up from different angles. And in these categories there is a place for the golden mean. We will talk about it and the main opposites from the point of view of psychology below.

What does introverted personality type mean? The tendency to introversion is manifested if you like to spend time alone with yourself, your thoughts and ideas. If you do not know how to determine whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, try to find the following main features in yourself. They are characteristic of those who prefer to isolate themselves from the outside world more often.


  • love of being alone;
  • unwillingness to be the center of attention;
  • one-on-one preference;
  • first think, then do;
  • recovery alone;
  • work in a quiet independent environment;
  • secrecy.

There is a big difference between introversion and shyness. Shy people are often also afraid of what others will think of them, while introverts do not have negative emotions and such fears.

Just because introverts don't like big groups doesn't mean they can't make friends and relationships. In this sense, they are almost no different from extroverts. In addition, they can make great careers simply by sticking to roles in which loneliness is possible: accounting, engineering, writing, driving trucks, etc.

The main difference between an introvert and an extrovert is the desire to focus more often on their own feelings and thoughts . They are characterized by a greater concentration than representatives of the opposite camp. It is unfair to call them socially isolated, selfish or unhappy people.

Introverts also desire to communicate, show feelings, and care for others. But the difference is that an introvert will do all this with more restraint, "impartiality" than an extrovert. So the talk that people who are less generous with emotions love order too much, are sensitive to negativity, or are “on their own minds” are also groundless. These are already other characteristics, from the category of neuroticism.

How an extraverted personality type manifests itself

Whom it is difficult to blame for passivity or love of solitude is an extrovert. He just needs to draw strength from external sources. To shine and find grateful listeners in the society is about them. Hence the significant differences: an extrovert knows how to present himself, and an introvert, no matter how smart and educated, is not always capable of this.

Such people direct their energy outward — to other people and the realization of their ideas. We have looked at personality types in which an introvert manifests itself, and you can compare the main traits with an extrovert.

  • many acquaintances and friends;
  • love of attention;
  • quick decision making;
  • getting energy from being among people;
  • enthusiasm and positive attitude;
  • work in a team or group.

Extroverts tend to get more support from other people when they find themselves in a difficult situation. And in general, there is a stereotype that society loves extroverts more, so they more often become leaders and choose sales, marketing, PR and other areas where communication with people is important.

It is important to remember that this is only one of the characteristics. And there is a big difference between a pleasant introvert and a rude extrovert.

By the way, it is often about introverts that they say that they are too sensitive people, in contrast to extroverts. The latter, they say, go through life easier and are not led to mental troubles. American psychologist and researcher Elaine Eyron has carefully studied the issue of sensitivity and came to curious conclusions. In particular, the writer noticed that Jung singled out in extroverts a love of risk, the ability to enter into a conversation without a shadow of a doubt and speak their mind. In his opinion, introverts are completely incapable of these feats.

And Elaine Ayron believes that about a third of highly sensitive people can be called extroverts. She singled out the concept of "social extrovert", which differs from Jung's introvert in that the former easily make acquaintances and feel confident in crowded places. Otherwise, they are even similar.

The definition of introvert and extrovert can help leaders and managers when working with employees. In particular, when issuing orders. It will be more difficult for an extrovert to cope with a task that requires perseverance and attention to detail. And it is desirable to encourage the initiative of introverts, not allowing extroverts to become "irritants" in the team.

Despite the fact that the extrovert and introvert have significant differences, they are able to get along in the same unit of society. You probably noticed in the company a ringleader and a “quiet woman”, in a pair a more impulsive spouse and her “obedient” husband, and so on. They find compromises and interact with the whole world, and not just representatives of their "clan".

Introvert and extrovert at the same time: ambivert type

As soon as a friend refrains from a verbose conversation or wants to read a book alone on the weekend, you involuntarily begin to write him down as an introvert. Labels are always easier to attach. So there is a feeling that the person was able to “bite through”, which means it will be easier to build an appropriate relationship with him. But you should know that there are not only extrovert and introvert, but also other concepts.

Introverts and extroverts view pleasure differently. Their source for this is different. For one, this is a quiet rest, and for the other, being in the center of attention. But if after a noisy party there comes a desire to sit alone, this is the golden mean. The ambivert is the bridge between the introvert and the extrovert, containing the qualities of both. Psychologists believe that it is mixed personality types that prevail. Barry Smith, professor emeritus and director of the Laboratory of Human Psychophysiology at the University of Maryland, claims that ambiverts make up 68% of the total population.

Thanks to this view, we understand that not everything is so simple in the psychological portraits of people. Ambiver is the average between the introvert and extrovert, it has its features:

  • Flexibility in communication
  • The ability to value charms of loneliness
  • The desire to be published (dosed)
  • ability to adapt to situation
  • good listener and speaker

They took the best from two fronts, combining the character of an introvert and an extrovert. According to psychologists, ambiverts become worthy managers because they show leadership qualities and remain reasonable, able to stop and delve into issues. They are equally comfortable shining in society and secluded from prying eyes.

Director of the Indiana State University Shyness Research Institute Bernardo Carducci believes that the prevalence of introversion and extraversion is strongly influenced by genetics. The cross between an extrovert and an introvert - ambiversion - is also a hereditary tendency, not an acquired one.

How to know if you are an introvert, extrovert or ambivert

Most people are in the middle of the extroversion scale. This means that an introvert and an extrovert in their absolute form are extremely rare. And this is very good. Everyone has their own temperament, which reveals our emotionality to one degree or another, reflects actions. But this is only one of the puzzles of the multifaceted nature of man.

Extroverts and introverts, whose characteristics should not be reduced to the peremptory "open soul" and "lone wolf", can actually make friends. To do this, it is enough to mark the boundaries and build a dialogue.

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