A Validity Study of the Salter Environmental Type Assessment
Daniel W. Salter Pennsylvania State University
The Salter Environmental Type Assessment (SETA) was designed to be a commensurate measure for the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator instrument. To test its utility in the workplace, this study of the SETA was conducted with the Work Environment Scale and a sample of 202 college students. The results appeared consistent with previous research with both assessments and theoretical assumptions behind the two approaches to workplace measurement. The preliminary correlational analysis revealed multiple correlations that supported concurrent validity. To further examine the convergence between the assessments, a principal components factor analysis of the correlational results revealed three factors that accounted for 70% of the variance. Factor 1 appeared related to positive work settings (Extraversion, Intuition, and Feeling with Autonomy, Involvement, Innovation, Peer Cohesion, Supervisor Support, and inversely with Control). The second factor concerned structure in work settings (Judgment with Clarity, Task Orientation, and Physical Comfort). A third factor included Work Pressure and Task Orientation. Keywords: Person-environment fit, work environments, Jungian psychology, validity, career development
Achieving some manner of “fit” between people and their work environments has historically been an underlying goal of the career counseling profession (Herr, 2001). Due to its inherent complexity, however, the potential of the personenvironment interaction (PEI) model does not seem to have been fully realized in workplace applications (Schneider, 2001; Tinsley, 2000). The notable exception may be John Holland’s pivotal work, the success of which could be easily attributed to its PEI characteristics (Gottfredson & Richards, 1999). Consistent with Holland’s effort, perhaps, two common threads have emerged regarding ways to improve the PEI paradigm in practice, both generally (Gifford, 1997; Little, 1987; Winkel, 1985) and specifically to vocational applications (Tinsley,
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Daniel W. Salter, 330 CEDAR Building, University Park, PA 16802; e-mail: email@example.com. The Web site for the Salter Environmental Type Assessment is http://www.ed.psu.edu/seta/.
JOURNAL OF CAREER ASSESSMENT, Vol. 10 No. 4, November 2002 DOI: 10.1177/1069072702238405 © 2002 Sage Publications 428 428–440
and academic/educational advising (Evans. which are consistent with presses toward affiliation and interpersonal involvement as outlined in environmental type theory. including the MBTI—college students. Because a primary use of Jungian-type constructs has concerned vocational applications.Salter / VALIDITY STUDY OF SETA 429
2000). Tables 1 and 2 provide brief descriptions of the scales of the WES and the SETA (adapted from Moos. One response to these two admonitions was the Salter Environmental Type Assessment (SETA) (Salter. p. in the mid1980s when this project began. the validity of which is addressed in this study. Forney. personality theories that address individual differences in adaptation seem to be a key to understanding the process of fit. or in other words. 2000c. McCaulley. the SETA was designed to gauge environmental dispositions related to an established and recognized approach to personality functioning (Salter. Both measurement techniques rely on the assumption that the best way to gauge differences among behavioral environments is by assessment of the perceptions of individuals in the setting. professionals need commensurate measures of the person and the setting to understand behavior more fully. Quenk. 1981. the WES was about the only published environmental assessment for work environments. Rather than starting from scratch. multiple correlational relationships between the two environmental assessments might be foreseen. 1998). The SETA works in conjunction with the MBTI tool to provide a snapshot of “type congruence/incongruence” (Salter. Pragmatically. the Work Environment Scale (WES) (Insel & Moos. The three scales in the Personal Growth domain measure different aspects of goal orientation in the work setting and appear related
. 2000c). The purpose of this study was to examine the nascent SETA with the established WES in a concurrent validity study of individuals from a population that takes many career-related assessments. To that end. Peer Cohesion. the “personalities” of behavioral settings. & Hammer. Higher levels of these three WES scales (Involvement. First. Such a goal would seem consistent with MBTI-based career counseling strategies and interventions that strive to help clients obtain some degree of fit in the workplace (McCaulley & Martin. 2000c). the ability of the SETA to assess work settings has been emphasized from early in its development (Salter. organizational development (Hirsh & Kummerow. & Guido-Dibrito. Second. and Supervisor Support) would be expected to be related to both environmental Extraversion and Feeling. 1998). 1974) was originally chosen for concurrent validity studies of the SETA for both theoretical and practical reasons. 2000b). 4) within the PEI paradigm. The two assessments attempt to capture the systematic differences in psychosocial presses on individual functioning. From a theoretical standpoint. The Relationships domain in Moos’s (1981) theory concerns job commitment and the relationships among employees and supervisors in a workplace. 1995). 2000c). Jung’s (1921/1971) theory of psychological types and the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) instrument continue to hold a prominent place in the spheres of vocational counseling (Myers. and Salter. 1998).
Sample S-N Items 2. May be loud. practical applications and honed to the task. sedate. Although detached appraisal can often guide and advance the work of the thinking setting. Serves as a catalyst for a broad array of events and actions. Facilitates private actions and individual functioning. depersonalized truth or science. May be described as subdued. bright. (A) individuals groups (B) (A) hushed (B) noisy Sensing-Intuition (S-N) Scale Sensing Environment Primarily focuses on existent environmental elements (people. and distrust might also be conspicuous. Basic trust and warmth might be evidenced. Sample E-I Items 1. Diversity and experimentation would be conspicuous. Intuitive Environment Diverges from the existent elements in setting. (A) logic values (B) (A) businesslike (B) friendly
. Feeling Environment Emphasizes connectiveness and stresses values and interpersonal interactions. Within this environment. as well as presses toward creativity and/or discovery. and reserved. rules. Openly manages the exchanges in the setting. Introverted Environment Allows individuals to regulate the extent of interactions. and/or social. skepticism. The atmosphere of this environment is typically 21. which is rewarded 38. The usual tone of this environment is 31. quiet. although the setting could seem coercive and manipulative at a negative extreme. (A) facts imagination (B) more often? (A) creativity (B) efficiency Thinking-Feeling (T-F) Scale Thinking Environment Contains objective sets of logical operations that are based on a central.430
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Table 1 Salter Environmental Type Assessment Scale Descriptions and Sample Items
Extraversion-Introversion (E-I) Scale Extraverted Environment Requires attention and participation of the people in it. May be labeled as socially oriented. humanistic. noisy. Sample T-F Items 7. things. competition. or sentimental. values). Elements are identified for their immediate.
In some perceiving settings. change. Environmental systems (e. Adapted from Salter (2000b. The extent to which employees are encouraged to be selfsufficient and to make their own decisions.
Control Innovation Physical Comfort
The extent to which employees know what to expect in their daily routine and how explicitly rules and policies are communicated. 2000c).
Source. The degree of emphasis on good planning. Disorder and change may be conspicuous. the task of establishing a repertoire of elements could be sufficiently challenging as to thwart any efforts at maintaining a consistent reality. policies or customs) would function to maintain a coherent. Adapted from Moos (1981). The extent to which employees are friendly and supportive of one another. When a decision must be made. The extent to which management uses rules and pressures to keep employees under control.g. 24.Salter / VALIDITY STUDY OF SETA 431
Table 1 (continued)
Judging-Perceiving Scale Judging Environment Manifests orderliness and/or “plannedness” of the setting. and getting the job done. The extent to which the physical surroundings contribute to a pleasant work environment. The extent to which management is supportive of employees and encourages employees to be supportive of one another.
Table 2 Work Environment Scale Descriptions
Relationships domain Involvement Peer Cohesion Supervisor Support Personal Growth domain Autonomy Task Orientation Work Pressure Systems Maintenance and Systems Change domain Clarity The extent to which employees are concerned about and committed to their jobs. collective reality but may become fixed and stagnant. Perceiving Environment Accentuates the elements in the setting. (A) consistent changing (B) this environment offers mostly (A) alternatives (B) guidelines Source.
. both in operation and organization. Sample J-P Items 10.. The degree to which the press of the work and time urgency dominate the job milieu. The degree of emphasis on variety. and new approaches. efficiency.
Specifically. negative psychological outcomes have been found to be related to Work Pressure. where Clarity. constructs that parallel environmental Judging and Perceiving. Work settings high in Autonomy. Both approaches to describing and measuring work settings assume dynamic relationships among the scales’ constructs.. If concurrent validity between the two assessments exists. In addition. the fluidity and “changeability” suggested by the Innovation scale would seem related to Perception. On the other hand. or the allowance for self-sufficiency. and Supervisor Support have tended to be negatively associated with worker stress. Specifically. however. various scales comprise one of three domains. 1986. Autonomy in a workplace. a latent factor relating to worker stress might also be anticipated. Such interactions have been suggested in examinations of the influences of contextual presses on the psychological experiences of workers.432
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to combinations of the four functions of environmental types—Sensing. 1994) identified a few social climate dimensions that also appeared related to anxiety and burnout. Although exploratory. based on previous research with the SETA and the WES. In addition. Personal Growth. Intuitive. and Supervisor Support). as discussed above (e. these domains might be anticipated to “share” factor space with related SETA dimensions.g. Intuition.
. a factor analytic strategy was used to examine these multiple relationships simultaneously. Using the MBTI and an earlier version of the SETA. Peer Cohesion. Moving beyond simple scale-by-scale correlations between the WES and the SETA. And. SETA scales measure constructs that are hypothesized to interact and produce environmental type profiles (Salter. This approach was similar to one used by Saggino and Kline (1995) for a concurrent validity study of the MBTI with the Sixteen Personality Factor Questionnaire and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire. Thinking. Extraversion-Introversion [E-I] and Thinking-Feeling [T-F] with Involvement. who tended to show more trait anxiety. much like the MBTI tool. Peer Cohesion. and Feeling. Moos’s (1981) theory outlines three domains that are suggestive of these higher order factors: Relationships. Control. Karras (1990) found that the Extraverted. and Feeling characteristics of some university work settings were predictive of decreased state anxiety on the part of all psychological types. even for introverts. which are indicative of the overall social ecology of a work setting. and Physical Comfort would all seem to be maintenance or management aspects. the goal of this factor analysis (FA) was to locate these various environmental constructs in factor space. research with the WES (Constable & Russell. The scales of the Systems Maintenance and Systems Change (SMSC) domain address the order and organization of work settings’ social climates. In a similar vein. In Moos’s (1981) approach. Turnipseed. 2000c). and SMSC. would seem to correspond to a more unstructured openness (Intuition) that respects individual differences (Feeling). Work Pressure and Task Orientation would seem to be focused on the details of work (Sensing) and their logical and effective execution (Thinking). which parallel the structured nature of Judging.
S-N. S-N = .
SETA.Salter / VALIDITY STUDY OF SETA 433
scales from the Relationships (Peer Cohesion and Supervisor Support) and Personal Growth (Autonomy and Work Pressure) domains might be contained within a factor with E-I. however. and T-F. in both phrase question (33%) and word pair (67%) formats. the SETA has been used in work settings (Karras. Using a generalizability theory approach (Brennan. Respondents must pick the item responses that better describe the setting being assessed. 2000a). 63% were women and 37% were men. J-P = . for a total of 60.70) and were found to be comparable to similar estimates for the WES and earlier versions of the MBTI instrument (Salter. Of the larger sample. and JudgingPerceiving [J-P]). Each SETA scale is composed of 15 response pairs. counseling. 1997). 1990.
The 202 participants in this study were identified in two ways. Like the MBTI tool’s ipsative approach. 1983. The remaining participants (n = 35) were student members of three different staff groups from student affairs settings. T-F. In conjunction with the MBTI to study type congruence. SETA items were rationally produced by examining behavioral correlates of the psychological types and theoretical constructs from the emerging taxonomy of environmental types (see Salter. No attempt was made to ascertain this convenience sample’s generalizability to all workers and work environments. 1991).80. for more discussion). Table 1 provides brief descriptions of each scale and sample items. and 73 were enrolled at a research university.. social work). van Rooyen. The SETA is still in development. and living environments (Salter. 94 were attending a community college. E-I = .757. the differentials are used to sort scores into four dichotomous type categories (E-I. reliability estimates (Eρ2) have been generated for SETA scales (n = 1.g. A differential between the subtotals of the two types of the responses is computed for each scale.85.
. T-F = . Shavelson & Webb. Of this group. 2000c. These scores range from –15 to +15. Their involvement was also voluntary. however. The majority of individuals (n = 167) were college students with previous work experience who volunteered to participate in ongoing research as part of their academic experience. educational settings (Salter.87. 2000c). 2000c). Sensing-Intuition (S-N). These students ranged from sophomore to doctoral level and were studying for careers in fields related to human services (e. nursing.
from either a current or previous job. a positive correlation between Peer Cohesion on the WES and the T-F scale on the SETA would suggest that an increased level of camaraderie among work peers corresponded to a clearer inclination toward the positive interpersonal interactions of the feeling function.
The WES and the SETA were administered together to participants as per their respective protocols (Moos. The 35 paraprofessionals provided information on their immediate work setting in student affairs.83. 103 respondents did. however. 2000c). and fire stations (Moos. Expected significant correlations (p < .434
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WES. schools (8). Moos found internal consistencies that ranged from .
. Sensing.69 to . the military. Although in-class participants were not required to reveal the exact work settings that they referenced for their assessments. and Judging. Respondents were placed on their own recognizance to complete the assessments. Research with the WES has involved a range of work settings. customer service (6). The WES was designed to measure the relevant dimensions of the social climates in various work settings. because of how the SETA differential scores are computed (ranging from –15 to +15). negative correlations would be associated with tendencies toward Extraversion. and SMSC) in which the 10 WES scales are nested (see Table 2). The known work settings fell into the following categories: college student services (40). A low score indicates a deficit or lack of that environmental trait in the setting. For example. The generic term “office” was used by 17 additional individuals.
Pearson product-moment (PPM) correlations were generated among the differential scores of the four SETA scales and the 10 WES scale scores. Salter. Thinking. food service and restaurant (19). Personal Growth.86 and 1-month retest reliabilities from . including health care environments.69 to . ranging from 0 to 9. retail (15). From those results. The continued use of the WES over the past couple of decades probably speaks best to its ability to measure work settings. and counseling and social work (8). medical and nursing (17).05) were assumed to be supportive of concurrent validity. Of note. A score on a scale is the summation of the total number of items answered toward the positive side of the construct. Moos (1981) outlined three domains of social climates (Relationships. The SETA profiles from the 202 respondents are listed in Table 3. Nine true/false items comprise each of the 10 scales on the WES for a total of 90 items. These students were asked to assess a work setting with which they were familiar. business and finance (9). factories (2). factories. 1981. It was created through a FA of a larger pool of items. 1981).
E (Extraversion) = 152. The J-P scale had a range of –13 to +13. I (Introversion) = 53. J (Judging) = 109.500 were considered salient for interpretation. the FA revealed a three-factor solution that accounted for 69.Salter / VALIDITY STUDY OF SETA 435
Table 3 Salter Environmental Type Assessment Type Table (N = 202)
ISTJ 23 ISTP 19 ESTP 19 ESTJ 22 ISFJ 2 ISFP 4 ESFP 30 ESFJ 36 INFJ 0 INFP 3 ENFP 26 ENFJ 13 INTJ 0 INTP 1 ENTP 2 ENTJ 2
Note. Higher levels of Autonomy were consistent with both Intuition and Feeling and Control with Sensing and Thinking.
Working from this matrix of correlations. The PPM correlation coefficients among the SETA differential scores and the WES scale scores are presented in Table 5. N (Intuition) = 52. Judging seemed associated with Clarity. S (Sensing) = 153. Peer Cohesion. Control. the three Relationships domain scales (Involvement. T (Thinking) = 87. the SETA and WES results were factor analyzed using a principal components analysis. Task Orientation did not correlate with either Sensing or Thinking. Using the bootstrapping technique outlined by Thompson and Daniel (1996). Perception seemed associated with Innovation.500. The entire range of scores (0 to 9 for the WES and –15 to +15 for the SETA) was observed for all but one scale.
Means and standard deviations for the SETA and WES scales are reported in Table 4. Structure coefficients greater than or equal to ±. however. and to a lesser extent. in light of the distinct gap in loadings between . Latent factors composed of multiple scales from the two assessments were considered indicative of concurrent validity. F (Feeling) = 118. There were no missing values. P (Perceiving) = 96.400 and . which in this case was consistent with the simpler eigenvalues-greaterthan-one approach. and Supervisor Support) each correlated strongly with both Extraversion and Feeling. and Physical Comfort. When examining the higher order interactions among the SETA and WES scales. Factor 1 appeared consistent with the set of positive char-
.9% of the variance (see Table 6). three latent factors were identified and subsequently rotated with the varimax procedure. As expected for the SMSC domain scales. Consistent with hypotheses outlined above.
040 4.292** –.512** –.168
a.272 2. J-P = Judging-Perceiving. S-N = Sensing-Intuition.104 5.819 6.341** .138* T-F . Feeling.01. *p < . **p < .794 2.05.455 –4.407** –.959 2. Intuition.468** .462 2.389** –. a.133 –.173 5. Intuition.158* J-P –. and Perception.163 3.
Table 5 Pearson Product–Moment Correlation Coefficients Among the Salter Environmental Type Assessment (SETA) and the Work Environment Scale (WES) (N = 202)
SETA Scalesa WES Scales Involvement Peer Cohesion Supervisor Support Autonomy Task Orientation Work Pressure Clarity Control Innovation Physical Comfort E-I –.355** –.171* .455 6.832 5.013 –.488** . E-I = Extraversion-Introversion.067 .658 5.407** –.266** –.238** .191** .414** .544** .494** –. Feeling.078 –.306** . Direction of positive is toward Introversion.436
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Table 4 Means and Standard Deviations for the Salter Environmental Type Assessment (SETA) and Work Environment Scale (N = 202)
M SETA scales Extraversion-Introversion Sensing-Intuition Thinking-Feeling Judging-Perceiving Work Environment Scales Involvement Peer Cohesion Supervisor Support Autonomy Task Orientation Work Pressure Clarity Control Innovation Physical Comfort
SD 6.175* –.087 .055 5.339 2.387** –.586** .614** .651 2.566 2.246** –.113 –.423** –.588** .807 7.478 2. T-F = Thinking-Feeling.148* S-N –. Direction of positive is toward Introversion.409** –.572
Note.376** .161* –.176 7.146* –. (two tailed)
.258** .218 5.318 2. and Perception.851 1.122 –.951 5.134 1.
322 –. Work Pressure and Task Orientation.
acteristics for work settings from previous research with the SETA and WES.766 . and Physical Comfort were all located in the same factor space. Supervisor Support) each correlated with both Extraversion and Feeling on the SETA.652 –. For the second latent factor.167 –.223 .221 .375
Eigenvalue Percentage of variance
Note.696 .315 .254 .108 . Specifically.034 .104 .313 9.383 –.
The results of this study appeared to document convergence between these two approaches to assessing work setting characteristics.144 .306 .684 .671 .824 .018 –. Peer Cohesion.799 . the three Relationships domain scales (Involvement.Salter / VALIDITY STUDY OF SETA 437
Table 6 Three-Factor Varimax Rotation of Principal Components Solution for the Salter Environmental Type Assessment (SETA) and the Work Environment Scale (WES) (N = 202)
Factor Variable WES SETA WES WES SETA WES WES SETA WES WES SETA WES WES WES Autonomy Thinking/Feeling Innovation Involvement Sensing/Intuition Supervisor Support Peer Cohesion Extraversion/Introversion Control Clarity Judging/Perception Task Orientation Physical Comfort Work Pressure I . Extraversion. thereby supporting the validity of SETA.179 . Intuition.768 .517 –. Two of the
.520 III –. Judging and Task Orientation. and Innovation and with lower levels of Control. Autonomy. and Supervisor Support).580 –.190 2.070 .389 . The third factor was composed of two WES scales that appeared to have a relationship in this study. Peer Cohesion.156 –.628 –.355 –.122 .110 –.123 5.187 –.014 .539 .291 –.059 .500) and direction of environmental type dimensions.776 II .289 37.045 .799 .891 1. and Feeling were contained in a latent factor with higher levels of all three Relationships domain scales (Involvement.808 –. Bold numbers indicate structure coefficients that were considered salient for interpretation (>. As anticipated from a theoretical standpoint. Clarity.313 16.
Autonomy seemed related to both Intuition and Feeling. and a physically comfortable work environment. The multiple correlations between the two instruments were suggestive of the propositions that the climates of work settings are complex and that these constructs may interact to produce personalities. A high interpersonal component (Extraversion and Feeling on the SETA and the three Relationships domain scales on the WES) with a certain amount of “creative freedom” (as indicated by Intuition and Autonomy. fast-food restaurants. This particular result was especially meaningful to the ongoing development of the SETA. which was not the case for this sample. it could serve as the basis to strategies to improve workplace climate. Feeling may be one way of maintaining a focus on the task.. Control. The third factor. and Physical Comfort and Perceiving with Innovation. many of the SETA and WES scales were intercorrelated in this study. All SMSC scales correlated with their parallel J-P processes: Judging with Clarity. one factor emerged that seemed to combine them and to echo previous research on stress and anxiety in the workplace. did not contain any SETA scales and was probably indicative of the nature of the positions that these college students had experienced (e. combining Task Orientation and Work Pressure. maintaining a shared reality appeared to require clarity of purpose. as it were. Perhaps the “task” of these settings was related to maintaining structured relationships with people (e.438
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Personal Growth scales followed expectations as well. patrons. An informal examination of the work settings reported by these students showed that many were in the broader human services area. patients). Innovation. a focus on the task. as theorized.g. clients. To uncover these patterns. Such notions are also consistent with the judging process as described in environmental type theory. As expected. basic patient care). That is. A specific focus on efficient execution of a task might be anticipated to be associated with the Thinking and Sensing functions. The sample size was small and was composed entirely of college students. The J-P scale has presented a significant challenge to constructing the Assessment due to its latency to the S-N and T-F scales and the fact that Jung did not discuss this particular dichotomy in his psychological-type theory (Salter. FA was used. Furthermore. Aspects revolving around “structure” in the work setting comprised a second factor in the data. 2000c). Task Orientation seemed more associated with Judging in the FA. and Work Pressure with Sensing and Thinking. not only does this finding suggest further convergence between the two assessments. and lack of Control) appeared to encompass a complex set of conditions that could be labeled as a “positive” work setting. The anomalous finding in the correlational study concerned the significant relationship between Feeling and Task Orientation. This study may have been limited in at least a few ways. Rather than observing two separate factors related to the Relationships and Personal Growth domains.g. In light of the previous applied research. Two other latent factors emerged from this analysis. with Thinking being the other. Although these participants
. More than likely. no theoretical reason exists to expect all SETA profiles among any sample of work settings. Because the SETA was crafted to function across these domains. Gottfredson & Richards.g. In addition. Elements of generalizability theory. Besides. Future research with other types of workers and with comparable instruments that have emerged since this project began (e.
The SETA was designed as a commensurate measure for the MBTI tool to provide a fuller view of person/environment fit within the Jungian paradigm. R.
. Hopefully. some SETA profiles were underrepresented in this sample.Salter / VALIDITY STUDY OF SETA 439
may have had somewhat limited views of work environments. although intuitively appealing. they were certainly part of a large population of individuals who receive countless career assessments every year. no attempt was made to ascertain the exact work settings of all respondents or the length of time in these settings. Finally. would seem to be important to know in the career-advising process. As a matter of fact. continued research with it and the MBTI instrument may further reveal the complexities of behavioral settings and how they interact with the variety of people in them.
Brennan.g. (1983). The world of work is one area where the use of these two measures would seem to be indicated. a student’s view of a work setting. and family environments. Still. classroom. work environments are only one of many behavioral settings encountered by individuals. Moos and his associates have created additional domain-specific assessments for residential. In light of the relationships with the WES found in this study. continued study of the SETA with different individuals from different domains will help to identify the range of workers’ experiences. Of note. these students may not have had an opportunity to work in settings with those dispositions (e. small group. the Position Classification Inventory.. Iowa City. whether naive or not. especially those that typify the jobs that college students hold. including the MBTI and WES. L. 1999) would seem to be indicated to gauge the SETA’s overall utility to career assessment. especially those with Introversion and with the NT (Intuition/Thinking) combination. the SETA may be tapping some of the same personality characteristics of work settings that are found in Moos’s (1981) social climate theory and that seem relevant to worker success. IA: American College Testing Program. either of which may have affected the results. low interpersonal involvement and expectations toward critical analysis of broader issues).
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