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Abstract

Psychopathy is a clinical construct defined by a cluster of personality traits and behaviors, including grandiosity, egocentricity, deceptiveness, shallow emotions, lack of empathy or remorse, irresponsibility, impulsivity, and a tendency to ignore or violate social norms. The majority of empirical research on psychopathy involves forensic populations most commonly assessed with the Psychopathy Checklist-Revised (PCL-R), a 20-item rating scale that measures 4 related factors or dimensions (Interpersonal, Affective, Lifestyle, and Antisocial) that underpin the superordinate construct of psychopathy. Recently, researchers have turned their attention to the nature and implications of psychopathic features in the workplace. This research has been hampered by the lack of an assessment tool geared to the corporate/organizational world. Here we describe the B-Scan 360, an instrument that uses ratings of others to measure psychopathic features in workplace settings. In this study, large samples of participants used an online survey system to rate their supervisors on the B-Scan 360. Exploratory and confirmatory factor analyses supported a reliable 20-item, 4-factor model that is consistent with the PCL-R 4-factor model of psychopathy. Although more research is needed before the B-Scan 360 can be used in organizational settings, we believe that these results represent an important step forward in the study of corporate psychopathy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved).
Psychological Assessment
Factor Structure of the B-Scan 360: A Measure of
Corporate Psychopathy
Cynthia Mathieu, Robert D. Hare, Daniel N. Jones, Paul Babiak, and Craig S. Neumann
Online First Publication, July 9, 2012. doi: 10.1037/a0029262
CITATION
Mathieu, C., Hare, R. D., Jones, D. N., Babiak, P., & Neumann, C. S. (2012, July 9). Factor
Structure of the B-Scan 360: A Measure of Corporate Psychopathy. Psychological
Assessment. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0029262
Factor Structure of the B-Scan 360: A Measure of Corporate Psychopathy
Cynthia Mathieu
Universite´ du Que´bec a` Trois-Rivie`res
Robert D. Hare and Daniel N. Jones
University of British Columbia
Paul Babiak
Anubis-Research, Hopewell Junction, New York
Craig S. Neumann
University of North Texas
Psychopathy is a clinical construct defined by a cluster of personality traits and behaviors, including
grandiosity, egocentricity, deceptiveness, shallow emotions, lack of empathy or remorse, irresponsibility,
impulsivity, and a tendency to ignore or violate social norms. The majority of empirical research on
psychopathy involves forensic populations most commonly assessed with the Psychopathy Checklist–
Revised (PCL-R), a 20-item rating scale that measures 4 related factors or dimensions (Interpersonal,
Affective, Lifestyle, and Antisocial) that underpin the superordinate construct of psychopathy. Recently,
researchers have turned their attention to the nature and implications of psychopathic features in the
workplace. This research has been hampered by the lack of an assessment tool geared to the corporate/
organizational world. Here we describe the B-Scan 360, an instrument that uses ratings of others to
measure psychopathic features in workplace settings. In this study, large samples of participants used an
online survey system to rate their supervisors on the B-Scan 360. Exploratory and confirmatory factor
analyses supported a reliable 20-item, 4-factor model that is consistent with the PCL-R 4-factor model
of psychopathy. Although more research is needed before the B-Scan 360 can be used in organizational
settings, we believe that these results represent an important step forward in the study of corporate
psychopathy.
Keywords: psychopathy, corporate psychopathy, B-Scan, corporate settings
Scholars studying deviant behavior in the workplace have
shown strong interest in narcissism and Machiavellianism, but
only recently have researchers turned their attention to another
“dark personality,” corporate psychopathy (Babiak & Hare, 2006).
The public commonly associates psychopathy with individuals
who murder, rape, assault, rob, or commit other serious crimes.
Offenders high on psychopathy generally are at greater risk for
committing such crimes than are other offenders, but this should
not obscure the facts that at the measurement level psychopathy is
dimensional (Guay, Ruscio, Knight, & Hare, 2007), that most
offenders are not psychopaths, and that many high psychopathy
individuals manage to avoid being brought into formal contact
with the criminal justice system (e.g., Babiak, Neumann, & Hare,
2010).
An international standard for the assessment of psychopathy in
forensic populations is the Psychopathy Checklist–Revised
(PCL-R; Hare, 2003), a clinical construct rating scale administered
by qualified clinicians from interview and collateral information.
A derivative of the PCL-R, the Psychopathy Checklist: Screening
Version (PCL: SV; Hart, Cox, & Hare, 1995) is widely used for
assessing psychopathy in civil psychiatric and community popu-
lations, and is closely related to the PCL-R, both conceptually and
empirically (Hare, Neumann, & Widiger, in press). The psycho-
metric properties and correlates of the PCL-R and the PCL: SV are
well known, and evidence for their reliability and validity as
measures of psychopathy is extensive (Hare & Neumann, 2008;
Hare et al., in press). Confirmatory factor analyses (CFAs) of very
large data sets indicate that both instruments can be modeled in
terms of four strongly correlated unidimensional factors (with
well-delineated item-to-factor relations) that are accounted for by
a single superordinate factor (e.g., Neumann & Hare, 2008; Neu-
mann, Hare, & Johansson, in press; Neumann, Hare, & Newman,
2007). The four factors (and for illustrative purposes, the PCL: SV
items that comprise them) are as follows: Interpersonal (Superfi-
cial, Grandiose, Deceitful), Affective (Lacks remorse, Lacks em-
pathy, Doesn’t accept responsibility for actions), Lifestyle (Impul-
Cynthia Mathieu, Business Department, Universite´ du Que´bec a` Trois-
Rivie`res, Que´bec, Ontario, Canada; Robert D. Hare and Daniel N. Jones,
Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver,
British Columbia, Canada; Paul Babiak, Anubis-Research, Hopewell Junc-
tion, New York; Craig S. Neumann, Department of Psychology, University
of North Texas.
Daniel N. Jones is now at the Department of Psychology, University of
Texas, El Paso.
Paul Babiak and Robert D. Hare do not receive any financial compen-
sation directly from the B-Scan; however, it is being developed for future
commercial purposes. Robert D. Hare receives royalties from the sale of
the PCL-R and its derivatives. This research was supported by grants from
the Donner Foundation to Cynthia Mathieu, Robert D. Hare, and Craig S.
Neumann. We would like to note that all participating coauthors have
contributed equally to the elaboration of the present article. We thank Kylie
Neufeld for her assistance in preparing this article.
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Cynthia
Mathieu, Business Department, Universite´ du Que´bec a` Trois-Rivie`res,
P.O. 500, Trois-Rivie`res, Quebec, Ontario G9A 5H7, Canada. E-mail:
cynthia.mathieu@uqtr.ca
Psychological Assessment © 2012 American Psychological Association
2012, Vol. ●●, No. , 000– 000 1040-3590/12/$12.00 DOI: 10.1037/a0029262
1
sive, Lacks realistic goals, Irresponsible), and Antisocial (Poor
behavioral controls, Adolescent antisocial behavior, Adult antiso-
cial behavior). Cooke and Michie (2001) have argued that antiso-
cial features (the Antisocial factor) should not be included in the
assessment of psychopathy. However, traditional clinical concep-
tions of psychopathy are replete with antisociality, and it is diffi-
cult to understand how the defining traits of the construct could be
measured without reference to antisocial behaviors (Hare, 2003;
Hare & Neumann, 2008). As Lynam and Miller (in press) put it,
Antisocial behavior [ASB] plays a clear and prominent role in psy-
chopathy. . . . In fact, if there is an essential behavioral feature in
common across the conceptualizations [of psychopathy], it is the
presence of ASB. Any description of psychopathy is incomplete
without ASB.
We included antisocial features in the current study of corporate
psychopathy.
Given the defining features of psychopathy (that is, personality
traits that make it easy to defraud, bilk, scam, dominate, and
control), along with a context that includes loosely regulated
financial environments, plenty of opportunities, lax regulatory
oversight, huge rewards and trivial penalties, it is not difficult to
suspect that psychopathy should be closely connected to corporate
misbehavior and white-collar crime (Perri, 2011).
Corporate Psychopathy
In a recent study of 203 upper-level managers, Babiak, Neu-
mann, and Hare (2010) found that the PCL-R—particularly its
interpersonal component—was positively associated with in-house
ratings of Charisma/Presentation style (creativity, strategic think-
ing and communication skills) and negatively associated with
ratings of Responsibility/Performance (being a team player, lead-
ership and management skills, and overall accomplishments). The
authors concluded that the ability to charm, manipulate, and de-
ceive others allowed psychopathic leaders to achieve apparent
success in their careers despite negative performance ratings and
behaviors potentially harmful to the corporation and its personnel.
Others have found psychopathy to be positively related to uneth-
ical decision making (Stevens, Deuling, & Armenakis, 2012), a
recurring theme in the business world during the past few years. At
first glance, individuals with psychopathic tendencies may seem
attractive during recruitment and may succeed in the short-term,
but we argue that similar to individuals with narcissistic tenden-
cies, the destructive aspects of the personality will appear in the
long-run (Campbell, Hoffman, Campbell, & Marchisio (2011).
A major impediment to advancing our understanding of corpo-
rate psychopathy is the unavailability of a suitable instrument for
assessing the construct in business settings. Rather than relying on
formal clinical assessments or extant self-reports to assess psy-
chopathy, Babiak and Hare began working several years ago on the
development of an instrument for rating psychopathic features in
corporate and organizational settings. The original item set was
based on a multitude of behaviors, attitudes, and judgments con-
sidered problematic (by human resources personnel and industrial/
organizational psychologists) in corporate succession plans, not all
of which were possible indicators of psychopathy. The result was
the 113-item Business-Scan 360, referred to here as the B-Scan,
designed as a rating scale in which various members of an orga-
nization rate others, including supervisors, peers, and subordinates
(Babiak & Hare, 2012). The goal of the present study was to
determine the factor structure of the B-Scan as a measure of
psychopathy when used by subordinates to rate their supervisors in
corporate settings.
It has proven difficult to enlist the participation of organizations
to validate the B-Scan. Fortunately, the recent introduction of
online internet surveys has made it possible for researchers to
collect large amounts of data that are reasonably representative of
populations of interest. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk;
www.mturk.com) has proven to be particularly useful in this
regard (e.g., Buhrmester, Kwang, & Gosling, 2011). MTurk is an
online marketplace connecting requesters offering payment for
completion of human intelligence tasks (HITs) and workers will-
ing to complete such tasks. In terms of generalizability, many
studies report that samples obtained through MTurk are more
representative than studies using student participants (e.g., Beh-
rend, Sharek, Meade, & Wiebe, 2011; Buhrmester et al., 2011).
Mturk is a useful option for employee-focused research (Barger,
Behrend, Sharek, & Sinar, 2011).
Current Study
Early versions of the B-Scan were designed to capture the
four-factor model of psychopathy, but the process was largely
rational, and the amount of empirical data available was too small
to conduct satisfactory statistical analyses. The 113-item set also
was rather large for routine use and might have contained items
that were not directly related to the psychopathy construct. In this
study, we used MTurk to collect two large independent samples of
data from business personnel who rated their supervisors on the
original B-Scan items and on several relevant external variables. In
Sample 1, we conducted exploratory analyses to delineate the
factor structure of the B-Scan. In Sample 2, we conducted a CFA
of the items derived from the analyses in Sample 1.
Sample 1: Exploratory Analyses
Participants in Sample 1 were 340 working adults recruited on
Amazon’s MTurk website (57% women; mean age 33.64 years,
SD 11.78; 74% European heritage, 7% African heritage, 7%
East Asian, 4% South Asian, 8% other mixed ethnicities). On
MTurk, all participants preselect tasks they wish to complete, for
which they receive a nominal fee. The task in this case was to “rate
your boss’s personality.” Of those who took the survey, 2%
reported being a CEO or senior manager, 12% were middle man-
agement, 13% were line management, and 73% did not hold a
managerial position. Salaries ranged from less than $25K to over
$200K per year. The demographics of participants’ immediate
supervisors or bosses were also collected: 40% were women, 75%
were of European heritage, and mean age was 45.8 years (SD
10.0).
The MTurk instructions for the B-Scan ratings were as follows:
“Please answer the following questions with respect to your cur-
rent (or most recent) boss or supervisor. If you have (or had) more
than one, answer with respect to the most relevant to your career.”
Participants responded to each item on a 5-point Likert-like scale
(1–5) from Strongly Disagree to Strongly Agree. Sample items are
as follows: Comes across as smooth, polished and charming;
2MATHIEU, HARE, JONES, BABIAK, AND NEUMANN
Shows no regret for making decisions that harm the company,
shareholders, or employees.
In this sample, we used several statistical procedures to explore
the underlying dimensions of the initial pool of B-Scan items. The
first and primary procedure permitted examination of the Parallel
Analysis (PA; Horn, 1965) and Velicer’s minimal average partial
(MAP; Zwick & Velicer, 1986)criteria for factor extraction. Given
that psychopathy scores usually have nonnormal distributions and
that the items were answered on an ordinal scale, we conducted a
PA and MAP on both the polychoric and Pearson correlation
matrixes (see Cho, Li, & Bandalos, 2009). We used the statistical
package R (http://www.r-project.org/), which is capable of han-
dling a polychoric and Pearson matrix when calculating such
statistics. To supplement this approach, we examined eigenvalues
and scree plot graphs—all of which agreed with the PA and MAP
criteria.
The second step was to conduct a series of exploratory factor
analyses (EFAs) in order to isolate factors that fit the Hare Four-
Factor model of psychopathy. Here we discuss only B-Scan factors
directly related to psychopathy. These EFA procedures were car-
ried out with Mplus because of its ability to model nonlinear (i.e.,
ordinal) data (Muthen & Muthen, 2010). In all cases, we used the
mean and variance adjusted weighted least squares (WLSMV)
estimation procedure. Given the ordinal nature of the items, the
items were treated as polytomous and analyzed using polychoric
correlations via WLSMV, a preferred method for this analysis
(Muthen & Muthen, 2010). We note that use of maximum likeli-
hood resulted in a similar pattern of findings.
Results
The results of the PA identified six factors. This solution was
obtained for both polychoric and Pearson solutions. We then
entered the data into an EFA procedure, extracting six factors. Two
factors were not directly relevant to psychopathy but were consid-
ered important in evaluating corporate potential and performance.
We tentatively described them as an “ability” dimension (e.g., has
the knowledge to perform his/her job well) and a “disruptive
behavior” dimension (e.g., enjoys being disruptive at times). They
were similar to the performance and presentation style ratings
identified in the corporate psychopathy study by Babiak and col-
leagues (2010). That is, although not directly part of the psychop-
athy construct, they appear to be related to corporate performance
and perhaps leadership style. Because the present study’s goal was
to test the viability of a four-factor structure of psychopathy,
similar to other well-established derivatives of the PCL-R, we
decided to remove items that loaded on these two factors and items
that did not sufficiently load on one of the remaining four factors.
These two factors will be addressed in future research testing the
B-Scan in organizational settings. This left us with a pool of 38
items. We then conducted an EFA on these items. The first four
eigenvalues were greater than 1.5, suggesting a four-factor solu-
tion. The fourth factor, which consisted of aggression-related
items, had only five items with loadings greater than .40, as did
manipulation-related items. Two other factors had more than five
items with a loading of .40 or greater. In order to create a balanced
scale, we selected the best five from each factor (i.e., items that
were not redundant with another item, had the highest loading,
and/or had the lowest loading with other factors). The result was a
set of 20 items (five per factor) to represent the reduced B-Scan
scale. Finally, these items were subjected to a new technique
available in Mplus referred to as exploratory structural equations
modeling (ESEM). The advantage of ESEM is that items can
freely cross load (EFA), but model fit (SEM) is also estimated. In
this sense, it is a more open test of a model than conventional CFA,
which usually involves specific item-to-factor relations. The
ESEM identified four factors with an eigenvalue greater than 1.25.
With the exception of one item on the Callous/Insensitive factor
(“threatens co-workers”), all items loaded sufficiently on their
respective factor (i.e., .40; e.g., Factor 1 mean loading .63,
range: .48 to .89; Factor 2 mean loading .74, range: .65 to .86;
Factor 3 mean loading .74, range: .67 to .82; Factor 4 mean
loading .42, range: .31 to .51). The overall fit of the four-factor
ESEM was acceptable (TLI .97; SRMR .03). All of these
values exceed conventional cut-off criteria (Marsh, Hau, & Wen,
2004). Furthermore, each item clearly mapped onto the four well-
known PCL-R-based psychopathy factors (i.e., Interpersonal,
Affective, Lifestyle, and Antisocial). However, given that the
B-Scan (latent) factors are meant to have utility in a corporate
environment, we labeled them as follows: Manipulative/
Unethical,Callous/Insensitive,Unreliable/Unfocused, and Intimi-
dating/Aggressive. Coefficient alpha () for the total scale score
was .90. Table 1 lists the (manifest or observed) means, standard
deviations, mean interitem correlations, factor intercorrelations,
and for each factor.
Sample 2: Confirmatory Factor Analysis
In Sample 1 we identified a preliminary 20-item B-Scan scale
consistent with the four PCL-based factors of psychopathy. The
next step was to confirm this factor structure and its reliability.
Participants in Sample 2 were 806 working adults recruited on
Amazon’s MTurk website. The demographics of participants and
supervisors were similar to those in Sample 1 (59% women; mean
age 30.3, SD 10.3; 68% European heritage, 12% East Asian,
5% Latino, 6% African heritage, 4% other mixed ethnicities; 58%
of the supervisors were men). In addition, participants reported
that they had known their supervisors for an average of 4.5 years.
After filling out demographics, participants then rated their super-
visors online with the same 113 B-Scan items used in Sample 1, as
part of a larger study on personalities in business. They received a
nominal fee for their participation.
We conducted a CFA on the 20-item B-Scan model identified in
Sample 1. We again used the WLSMV estimation procedure as
recommended when analyzing ordinal (i.e., Likert-like) data (Mu-
then & Muthen, 2010). We used the Tucker-Lewis Index (TLI) and
the standardized root mean square residual (SRMR) as our primary
tests of model fit. Our current sample (e.g., 500) was sufficient
for testing a model consisting of less than 70 parameters (i.e., 20
items in a 4-factor model). Specifically, the 20-item model esti-
mates 46 parameters, which is well within the 10:1 subjects-to-
parameters ratio recommended by Bentler (1995).
Results
The CFA results for the 20-item model (four correlated factors,
five items per factor) selected in Sample 1 had acceptable fit to the
Sample 2 data,
2
(75) 692.46, p.001, TLI .93, SRMR
3
B-SCAN
.07. As shown in Figure 1, the resulting model replicated the four
psychopathy factors found in Sample 1. In addition, the total score
and each factor score were about as reliable as those in Sample 1
(see Table 1 for means, standard deviations, alphas, mean interitem
correlations, and factor intercorrelations).
General Discussion
This study provides support for a four-factor structure of the
B-Scan 360, an instrument designed for managers, subordinates,
and peers to assess corporate psychopathy in others. In Sample 1,
participants rated their supervisors on the original set of B-Scan
items. Exploratory analyses of the items yielded a 20-item, four-factor
model. In Sample 2, confirmatory factor analyses replicated this
model. These results provide initial empirical evidence for a reliable
structural model of the B-Scan, one that is conceptually similar to the
four-factor structure of the PCL-R and its derivatives.
Within an organizational setting, psychopathic traits are likely to
find expression in behaviors that are self-serving, damaging to the
organization and its members, or covertly unethical or illegal, such
as manipulation, deception, intimidation, threats, coercion, bully-
ing, fraud, and corruption. The features reflected in the four factors
of the B-Scan seem to be related to workplace deviant behaviors
previously described in business literature, such as organizational
retaliatory behavior (Skarlicki, Folger, & Tesluk, 1999), work-
place bullying (Mathisen, Einarsen, & Mykletun, 2011), and in-
terpersonal deviance (Bolton, Becker, & Barber, 2010). Further-
more, we believe that employees high on psychopathic traits will
exhibit few behaviors that facilitate organizational functioning and
Table 1
B-Scan 360 Factors and Total Score: Means, Standard Deviations, Reliabilities, and Factor
Intercorrelations
B-Scan 360 12345M(SD) MIC
Sample 1 (n340)
1. Manipulative/Unethical (.76) 3.45 (.76) .36
2. Callous/Insensitive .51 (.99) 2.61 (.99) .54
3. Unreliable/Unfocused .47 .51 (.87) 2.27 (.87) .50
4. Intimidating/Aggressive .46 .64 .44 (.92) 2.91 (.92) .40
5. Total Score .49 .73 .52 .61 (.90) 2.69 (.70) .30
Sample 2 (n806)
1. Manipulative/Unethical (.70) 2.94 (.79) .31
2. Callous/Insensitive .48 (.82) 2.54 (.92) .49
3. Unreliable/Unfocused .43 .50 (.82) 2.21 (.81) .48
4. Intimidating/Aggressive .40 .59 .38 (.70) 2.78 (.84) .32
5. Total Score .46 .67 .49 .55 (.88) 2.62 (.65) .27
Note. For all factor intercorrelations, p.001. Alpha reliability is on the diagonal. Factor scores were calculated using
summed item grouping scores. MIC mean interitem correlations.
.48
.60
.38
.74
.77 .86
.83
.83
.40
.81
.60
.62
.79
.77
.94 .63
.86
.56
.54
.58
.55
.58 .66
.68
.55 .85
Ingraates him/herself
Glib
Uses charm
Claims experse
Raonalizes
Insensive
Not loyal
No planning
Unfocused
Not paent
Unreliable Dramac
Threatens coworkers
Asks harsh quesons
Angry
Inmidang
No empathy
Remorseless
Cold inside
Rarely shows emoons
Manipulative
/
Unethical
Intimidating
/
Aggressive
Unreliable
/
Unfocused
Callous
/
Insensitive
Figure 1. Four-factor B-Scan model of psychopathy.
4MATHIEU, HARE, JONES, BABIAK, AND NEUMANN
many behaviors that harm the organization and its members. Such
a pattern of behaviors, along with other factors, has been associ-
ated to job performance (Rotundo & Sackett, 2002), an important
variable in organizational settings.
Implications of These Findings
We believe that our findings provide important information
about the underlying personality structure of counterproductive
work behavior. Thus far, the business literature has focused more
on identifying these toxic behaviors than on understanding their
origins. We propose that psychopathic features in employees (as
measured by the B-Scan) may help to explain these counterpro-
ductive behaviors.
The originality of the B-Scan lies in the fact that it is a 360
degree tool for the evaluation of psychopathic features in business
settings. The present study focused on the validation of the B-Scan
when used to evaluate psychopathic traits in others (data on the
validation of the B-Scan Self, its sister version, will be presented
in another manuscript). Given the self-serving and deceptive na-
ture of the psychopathic personality, corroboration of self-report
scores by others is vital, especially in business settings. Even
trained industrial/organizational (I/O) psychologists, if not made
aware of problematic evaluations or profiles, may think certain
individuals are good fits for the organization when, in fact, they are
potentially toxic. Babiak and colleagues (2010) observed that some
executives tend to rely on their “gut feeling” to judge candidates
and that “unfortunately, once decision-makers believe that an
individual has future leader potential, even bad performance re-
views or evaluations from subordinates and peers do not seem to
be able to shake their belief” (Babiak et al., 2010, p. 190). The
addition of data from a standardized assessment instrument, based
on the observations of others who may work closely with such
persons, could counterbalance inaccurate perceptions.
Limitations and Future Research
The results are based on a sample from MTurk and may not
generalize to other means of collecting B-Scan data from organi-
zations or corporate environments. We chose MTurk because it
provided us with data from a wide array of individuals with
different occupations and supervisors, and different work environ-
ments and settings. Given such diversity of participants, it is
unlikely that the results would be limited to a particular work
environment. Nevertheless, MTurk samples have limitations that
could potentially affect external validity, such as the facts that
employees are not all from the same organization and that orga-
nizational context and other variables cannot be controlled. We
believe that future research using corporate samples is needed in
order to establish generalizability as well as the predictive validity
of B-Scan scores and organizational variables.
In sum, given the destructive nature of individuals high on
psychopathic features, the development of a sound and reliable
business-friendly measure is badly needed. Our results suggest that
our instrument may represent such a measure and although more
research is needed before it can be used in organizational settings,
we think that this first validation study of the B-Scan is an
important step forward in the study of corporate psychopathy.
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Received October 1, 2011
Revision received May 5, 2012
Accepted May 9, 2012
6MATHIEU, HARE, JONES, BABIAK, AND NEUMANN
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