Coolest psychological hacks used by the government to make us obey the rules

Ever heard of the Wadala Experiment? It was an experiment carried out by the Indian Railways in order to curb deaths related to railway track crossing. The following experiment was the brain child of a firm in Mumbai called Final Mile.

It went on to become one of the most talked about experiments in which psychology and decision sciences were used to implement policies and regulate the target audience. Here it is:

This is Wadala, an area in Mumbai where a large chunk of deaths related to rail track crossing occurred. During rush hour usually around 45 people crossed the track per minute, and the reasons for such a large number of deaths were found to be the following:

  1. Leibowitz Hypothesis : Evolution has primed us in such a way that we tend to perceive a smaller object moving fast towards us as more dangerous in comparison to a larger object moving at the same speed. This is because during our evolutionary phase, smaller and faster moving objects (lions, jaguars etc) used to kill most of the early humans, and not larger objects like elephants and rhinos. Thus over a period of time our brain became more attuned to and conscious of smaller and faster moving objects. This impairment lasts to this day, and thus people were not able to perceive the proper speed of a fast object such as a train, didn’t think of it as a threat, and crossed the railway track with complete disregard for the rules.

To counter this, the Railways painted the tracks yellow, so that the brain could use the tracks as a marker, easily register the distance being covered by the approaching train, and make conscious calculations on whether to cross or not.

2. One can’t foresee his death: In a flight or fight response, the brain stops calculating the outcome and thus most often makes a wrong decision. To add to that, one can never forsee his own death, thus it becomes important that we show a person the eventual result that shall emerge if he instinctively acts according to the flight or fight response.

The Railways made posters of how a person may die if he acts impulsively. Such posters were placed at the exact locations where mishaps recorded were the highest, thus it was able to target the audience at the most vulnerable decision making point. The posters showed a person being crushed by a train, and this image made the crosser more conscious of their death. Hence they acted more carefully.

3. Cocktail effect: Our brain can register only one sound at a time, thus if there are too many sounds, the brain automatically filters out most of them. If the honking of the train is mixed with other sounds closer to the crosser, or with the sound of another train coming from an opposite track, then he shall filter out one of the sounds. In both the cases his decision making is impaired, and that leads to him being callous to the approaching disaster.

To counter this the Railways installed a whistle at the bend. This whistle was a reminder for the motor man to start honking.

The honking had a pattern. The brain calculates the meaning of a sound in between the pauses, so in place of one continous honk, pause was given between two honks. During the pause people became conscious of the distance at which the train was coming as larger intensity of the sound meant the train was nearer and thus the danger was high. This made the crosser to be more conscious and thus evade danger.

Using the psychological tricks, the Indian Railways decreased railway crossing related deaths by 70–75% and saved ₹50 crore (the annual budget to stop railway track related crossing deaths). The whole objective was achieved by spending in thousands and not in crores. The psychological hacks used by the railways stand as a testimony of how the government can use psychology to achieve objectives at a reduced cost.

Best life hacks that I’ve ever read so far

  1. You can revive stale chips by microwaving them on high for 30 seconds.
  2. Eat an orange before working out. Not only it does it keep you hydrated but it also prevents your muscle from getting sore.
  3. Look at someone’s elbow before you high-five. You will never miss.
  4. Healthy hair test: Dip a few strands of hair into a glass of water, healthier hair will float while unhealthy hair will sink.
  5. A cup of black coffee before workout speeds up the fat burning process.
  6. Make an “X” mark on a bug bite with your fingernail. The itch will go away.
  7. If you boil water before you freeze it, you’ll have crystal clear ice cubes.
  8. Trying to read something but forgot your glasses? Make a ring shape with your fingures in front of eye and look through it like a telescope. This prevents light from spreading onto your retina and will focus the image like a pinhole camera.
  9. Ear plugged with water after swimming? Blow into a deflated balloon. This will relax your ears and force the water out.
  10. Burn yourself on something? Pour yellow mustard all over the area and then rinse with cold water. It’s like a magic eraser for burns.
  11. Just cleaned up broken glass? Lay a flashlight on the floor. Any small leftover pieces will make a shadow so you can easily pick them up before you step on them.
  12. On Caffeine Informer you can find out how many of your favourite energy drink, soda or coffee it will take to kill you.
  13. 20 pushups, 15 squats, 50 jumping jacks, 30 crunches. Repeated 3 times = 100 calories burned.
  14. In an emergency, a crayon will burn for about 30 minutes.
  15. If you stand up too fast and starts to black out, tighten your abs as hard as you can.
  16. While buying something online, only read reviews that gave 3 stars. They are usually the most honest about the pros and cons.
  17. If you are buying headphones or speakers. Test them out “Bohemian rhapsody” it has a complete set of highs and lows in instruments and vocals.
  18. Showering with cooler water can help stops dandruff.
  19. Get caught doing something embarrassing in public? Just say you lost a bet.
  20. A person usually makes a lot of hand gestures when telling a true story. When telling a lie, a person’s hands will stay noticeably still.
  21. Want to whiten your clothes? Soak them in hot water with a slice of lemon for 10 minutes.
  22. Wash your face with cold water after taking a hot shower. It will close your pores and make you less likely to get acne.
  23. Never step on spiders. You could be stepping on a female with eggs, and they will stick to your shoes and hatch all over your car and house.
  24. Close with your neighbours? Share your wifi and split the bill.
  25. Wrap a wet paper towel around your beverage and put it in the freezer. In about 15 minutes, it will be almost completely ice cold.
  26. Put your phone number on your child’s bracelet in case they get lost in public.
  27. Want to know if someone has romantic feelings for you? Look at their eyes. People’s pupil expand by 45% when looking at a love interest.
  28. Put dry tea bags inside your smelly shoes or gym bags to remove odors.
  29. You can clear a room full of cigarette smoke in a minute by spinning a wet towel around.
  30. Swimming is one of the best techniques to grow taller quickly.
  31. If you are feeling nervous, start chewing gum, your brain will reason that you are not in danger because you would not be eating if you were.
  32. When showing people pictures on your phone, zoom in a little bit so they cant swipe to other pictures.
  33. When shopping, the cheapest items will be on top and bottom shelves not on eye level.
  34. Have hiccups? Hold your breath and swallow three times.
  35. Giving presentations? Always bring a bottle of water to the stage, when you can’t remember what to say, take a drink. Nobody will know the difference.
  36. Spray an unfamiliar scent while you are studying and again right as you are about to take the test. The scent will jog your memory.
  37. Microwave peanut butter and pour it over icecream for the best icecream you will ever have.
  38. You can press 1, 2, 3 etc to jump 10%, 20%, 30% into the clip you are watching on youtube.
  39. You can ask Siri to flip a coin if you dont have one on hand.
  40. Internet trick: Don’t download a pdf file that ends with “.exe”. Its a virus.
  41. Interview on Skype? Stick googly eyes next to your webcam to help maintain eye contact.
  42. Got something in your eyes? Fill a bowl of water big enough for your face and open your eyes in it. It’ll come right out.
  43. You can remember the value of pi (3.1415926) by counting each word’s letter in “ May i have a large container of coffee”.
  44. Leave your sandals face down when you are at the beach or at the pool. They won’t be scalding hot when you put them back on.
  45. Train your pets with vicks vaporub by applying it onto anything you don’t want chewed or destroyed. They are turned off by the smell.
  46. Stumped on a word in a phrase? Search google and put an asterisk(*) in the vacant spot. The result will tell you the word.
  47. Need to tell a believeable lie? Inculde an embarrassing detail. No body doubts a story that makes you look dumb.
  48. When an elderly can’t hear you, speak deeper, not louder. This will make it easier to understand.
  49. Having Trouble focusing? Take a shower or brush your teeth to focus better.
  50. Need to study vocab words? Quizlet is a great free interactive app for learning quickly.

Source: Google

Do you know why power plants have such wide chimneys ?

Chimneys?

You mean these things?

These are not chimneys. Large power plants produce huge amount of heat, but use up only about half of it. They must release the remaining heat to avoid melting, so they blow it into the environment.

How do they release it?

If there is a big enough river nearby, they use the water. But if not, they build these big chimney-LIKE towers to release heat by EVAPORATING WATER. Yes, these chimneys release steam and vapor, not smoke or radiation. And why such big towers? To allow the rising steam to cool down and be able to recollect and in the next turn use it in the machinery and turbines again.

Water, in the amounts the power plants use it, is not cheap. In most cases, it’s cheaper to reprocess it than to get more of it.

Source: Google

Lesser known people of India.. Do Read.. Faith on humanity restored!

Narayanan Krishnan – A Madurai born Indian chef.

He was living as a successful chef in Taj hotels, Bangalore.

He was even short listed for an elite job in Switzerland.

But a final visit to his home before heading to Europe changed his life forever.

He was heading to a temple in his car when he saw an old man under a bridge. Little did he know that this man was going to change his life forever.

The old man was pretty weak and he was so hungry that he was eating his own human waste for food.

That one incident haunted him so much that he decided to quit his job, and decided to serve the poor and mentally ill people.

In 2003 he founded a non profitable Akshaya Trust.

Till now he has served around 2 million meals to the homeless.

He also carries comb, scissors and razors and gives them free hair cuts.

He sleeps in Akshaya’s modest kitchen along with his co workers.

Since investing his entire savings in 2003, he has taken no salary till date.

The malayalam movie “Ustad Hotel” is based on his life.

Be the change you want to see in this world.” He proved it with his life.

I would like to quote one the question he asked the viewers in one of his interviews. “I would like to ask you a question that as an individual what you did. As an individual what impact have you created for society? You will see in the roadside, a BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, but on the same day you will see a homeless person. There is no bun, no burger for this person. You drive by in a Mercedes, but do you see the beggar on the sidewalk?”

In 2010, he was awarded the CNN heroes award.

Image Source: Google

Edit 1: Below is link to a Ted Talk given by Narayanan Krishnan. Thank you Prakhar Goel for sharing it with us.

The Joy Of Giving : Narayanan Krishnan at TEDxGateway

 

When you try to comment about people in your own language and Karma pitches in.. This is what happens.. Funny

I pressed the button in the elevator for the 21st floor of the hotel. There were two other Emirati men (let’s call them Ahmed and Abdo) in the elevator with me, talking in their usual loud, expressive, who-gives-a-crap-if-someone-else-is-in-the-elevator voice.

As we went up, the elevator stopped on the third floor and in walked a stunning Philippino woman – she was dressed in a shirt and tight fitting leggings that showed off quite an attractive back-side.

I was surprised though – almost all Philippino women in Dubai were either housekeepers or working for the hotel, yet she was dressed like neither of those.

As the elevator doors closed, I looked at the Arab men and they had mischievous expressions on their faces. Oh boy, I thought.

Ahmed: Ya khrabbaytak! Unthur lahaa teezak! (On my house! Look at her ass!)

Abdo: Ha wallah, urid laha litanzif almirhad alkhass bi. (Yeah I swear, I want to her to come clean my toilet)

My face quickly turned red with anger. These two fools were guffawing and staring like a couple of perverts while she was facing the elevator door, and they continued to insult her, the jokes becoming more and more indecent as the floors climbed higher.

Then the elevator dinged, the door opened, and a tall Arab man in a suit walked in. He saw the Philippino woman and looked surprised.

Tall Arab man: Hello Madame. How are you?

The Philippino woman smiled softly at him.

Woman: I’m doing fine Yasir. How’s my hotel?

The anger flushed out of my face as my jaw dropped to the floor. I turned to the two Emirati men – their eyes were as wide as beach balls and their mouths were suddenly clammed shut.

Tall Arab man: It’s doing very well Madame. The guests are enjoying themselves and all the rooms are booked.

Woman: Wonderful.

The two Emirati men stood there with looks of incredulity plastered on their faces.

The elevator stopped and the doors opened. The Philippino woman walked out – but then turned back to the Tall Arab man.

Woman: Oh, and Yasir? Can you send someone up to these gentlemen’s room, it seems as though their toilet might need some cleaning.

The two Emiratis’ faces morphed into horror and all the life seemed to drain out of their eyes.

Then the woman turned to them and said in impeccable Arabic:

Istamta’at Eqamatik. (Enjoy your stay).

And she walked out.

Emirati men are very rarely at a loss for words.

I will remember those next 30 seconds of silence for the rest of my life.

(Quora)

Nikon Macro contest winners showed us a world that we’ve never seen before.. Stunning pics

Nikon has just announced the winners of its annual Small World Photomicrography competition, and as you can see from these stunning photographs, bigger isn’t always better.

The competition is in its 42nd year and this year over 2000 people from 70 countries entered. For those that don’t know, photomicrography is the practise of taking a photograph through a microscope or similar magnifying device in order to capture the intricate details of things invisible to the human eye. From the proboscis of a butterfly and the foot of a beetle to espresso coffee crystals, the pictures below give us a whole new way of looking at world. The categories are divided into winners, honorable mentions, and images of distinction, and you can find the full list on the Nikon Small World website.

25 psychological hacks that will help you handle any situation in Life. Must Read.

Social situations are among the most important in our lives. Yet, there is a huge chance that you are oblivious to the plethora of unwritten social rules that structure everybody’s behavior. Failing to comply to these cultural imprints can cause irreversible damage. Just following them blindly will not get you ahead. Hacking them, however, will give you the best results possible.

1) Assume comfort in any interaction.

Our brain is an incredibly complicated instrument. Our relationship with it, is a love-hate one. We think we have control over it but usually something unconscious dictates our actions.

In most of our social interactions, we find it difficult to feel comfortable among strangers because our brain tries to protect us from exposure.

This however isn’t helping us when trying to be social and meet new people, is it?

This is why assuming comfort is so powerful. Commanding your brain to feel that you already know the person you are about to meet puts you in a position of advantage. It increases the chances of people showing interest in you and consequently even liking you.

2) Pay attention to people’s feet when you are approaching them.

Interrupting people when they are in the middle of an important conversation is one of the most annoying things to do. It shows that you have zero knowledge of social dynamics which will lead to unpleasant social situations.

When you approach a group of people while in a conversation, pay attention to their bodies. If they turn only their torsos and not their feet, it means they are in the middle of an important conversation and they don’t want you to interrupt them.

If they turn both torso and feet, it means you are welcome. This is extremely important, because the right timing in such situations may put you in a position of advantage, especially if the conversation was boring for both sides.

3) Whenever you have an argument with someone, stand next to them and not in front of them.

We’ve all been in situations where out of nowhere the conversation started escalating.

Unless you love drama, I would suggest you to avoid these situations. You might have the best argument in the world, but usually people get irritated when they feel they are wrong.

So, whenever you feel that the argument you have with another person (especially friends – it’s not cool to fight with friends) creates tension, move next to them. You won’t appear much of a threat, and they will eventually calm down.

4) Whenever you need a favor, open with “I need your help.”

Admit it. We all love to get others to do stuff for us. Either because we are lazy, or because we really need some help to complete a task.

Social dynamics show that when it comes to platonic relationships, nobody really likes an asshole. So whenever you need a favor, start your sentence with “I need your help.”

In most cases, people will accept your request and help you out. This occurs because we don’t really like the guilt of not helping someone out and we do like to be the one who is capable of helping.

 

5) If you want people to feel good, give them validation. Rephrase what they just told you.

We love validation. Most of our actions are the outcome of our need for validation. So what is the best way to get people to like you? Give them what they need of course. A simple example, is when you are in a conversation with another person and he says something really important for him. After he finishes, rephrase what he just said in your own words. This will make him think that you are a good listener and that you are really interested in him. It makes him feel he is the center of attention. That’s validation right there.

6) If you want to get a positive response from someone, nod while you talk.

This one is extremely powerful and also a bit manipulative especially if the person is suggestive. So use it with your own responsibility and in an ethical way. Getting a positive response from someone is usually what we want. Whether it is making a sale, or promoting a viewpoint, we always want people to get on board. Nodding while you try to deliver your message is a powerful way to get the person to agree with you. People usually like mimicking, so they will most probably nod back while you talk. This will subsequently communicate to their brains that they have to agree with you.

7) Want to see if someone is paying attention to what you are saying? Fold your arms.

Usually when we are in the middle of a conversation and especially if we talk about something very important to us, we get lost in our talking and rarely pay attention to whether the other person is following or not. So instead of losing time talking to a person who is distracted and might not even be interested in what you are saying, do this. Fold your arms while talking and see if the other person follows your move. If the other person is observing you and pays attention, they will most likely mimic you.

8) Having trouble remembering names? Repeat the other person’s name during the conversation.

I suck at remembering names. I usually don’t even listen to the other person when he says his name the moment we get introduced to each other. So usually, I ask a friend to introduce himself to the person so I can listen to his name. But then I forget it again. Awkward. Remembering names is very important because we feel important when someone mentions us. So the moment you meet someone repeat his name. Example: “Hi my name is Alex” “Nice to meet you Alex. So, Alex how do you know John?” And continue to repeat his name throughout the conversation.

9) If you ask someone a question and they only partially answer, just wait. They will keep talking.

This is a very common situation when you don’t know the other person that well or your question wasn’t clear enough. If they finish the answer without providing a full answer, just wait. Stay silent and keep eye contact. If the tension becomes unbearable, raise your eyebrows. It puts a bit of pressure on them but it communicates that you show interest. It also sub-communicates that you are a person that usually gets what he wants.

10) People usually focus on the emotion and not on the subject.

This is very useful in public speaking but also in building rapport with an acquaintance. Whenever you introduce yourself to new people, most probably they have already heard what you are about to say. Well that’s not a problem. Even if you want to talk about the most boring topic in the world, make sure of one thing: Always try to evoke emotions. From my experience the 3 emotions that you want to evoke are: • Excitement • Laughter: Everyone likes to laugh • Intrigue: Leave a little mystery so the other person has to invest energy to hear more. Don’t be purposely distant, but avoid verbal diarrhea.

There are many techniques to turn a boring conversation into an exciting and intriguing one, but here are a couple of my favorites:

      • Pause: A lot of the time when we want to keep someone’s attention, we tend to talk really fast, but this subcommunicates neediness and nervousness. A well-placed pause can create tension that makes your words have more gravitas.
      • Tone and Inflection: No one finds monotone exciting. Switch up your tone of voice from deep for declarative statements, to high inflection when you want to leave them guessing.
      • Paint pictures and compose symphonies in their mind with sensory details: When telling a story, take the person you’re talking to on an emotional journey by describing the colors, sounds, textures, tastes, smells, and how they made you feel. This will cause their mirror-neurons to fire off, making it easier for them to imagine actually being there with you.

So if you want to be memorable, focus on the emotion behind the words. People may forget what you say, but they will never forget how you make them feel.

11) Confidence is more important than knowledge.

Two young candidates walked into the interview office to apply for the same job. The first one had a Phd, two Masters and a Bachelor’s degree. The second one had just a Bachelor. The first one was kind of shy, didn’t talk much, his body language was turned inward. The second one had an upright posture, was looking the interviewers directly in the eyes, showed a lot of interest in the job and his answers where emitting confidence. We don’t have to tell you who got the job.

12) Fake it until you make it.

No one became an expert on anything over night. However, the learning process in everything you do is accelerated by commanding your brain to think what you want it to think. In simple words. You are what you believe you are. • You are confident if you believe you are confident • You are attractive if you believe you are attractive • You are extrovert if you believe you are extrovert If you want to look deeper into this idea look up two words. Neuroplasticity and brain rewiring.

13) Pose in a Power Stance.

This is similar to the previous point, but more concrete than a mantra or belief. Go stand in the mirror, put your hands on your hips, thrust your pelvic forward, pull your shoulders up, back and down, open your chest, tilt your head up, and force the biggest smile you can possibly manage to fit across your face. Even if you consciously know you’re just faking it, your brain can’t tell the difference, and will release endorphins to match your body position. This can feel silly, but it really works.

14) If you want to be persuasive, try and reduce the use of the words “I think” and “I believe.”

I don’t really feel the need to elaborate on this one. Obviously these words do not evoke confidence and the other person will most probably not take you seriously. Change them to ‘I know’ and ‘I will’ instead.

15) A clean and organized environment affects your mood, productivity, and others perception of who you are.

How many times have you waken up without any motivation at all? How many times have you started working on something without being able to get focused and inspired? Next time this happens, take a look around you. Is your environment clean and well-organized? If not, take some minutes to clean it up and put everything into place. You will feel refreshed and reborn and productivity will spark immediately. But not only that, you will come across as caring and punctual, two highly esteemed traits. Why do think most of the big companies pay so much attention to creating the best working environment for their employees? They know what makes them happy and how it affects their productivity.

16) Want to find out which people are close to each other within a group and who is perceived as the leader?

Pay attention to who is looking at each other when everyone in the group laughs at a joke. People instinctively look at and agree with the person they feel closest to within the group.

17) Whenever you call a person you want to meet, show excitement!

Always have this in mind. Excitement is contagious. Why do you think the music video from Pharrell Williams – “Happy” got so many views and so many people were talking about it?

People love excitement! It is like an escape from their boring lives. Never forget that.

(You can mirror this and show disappointment if somebody let’s you down, making them painfully aware of their hurtful actions.)

18) Want to build rapport and gain respect? Match body language.

This is quite a common topic among body language experts and works well if you want to gain respect from a person that has high value.

Example:

You are in a social situation where a person has higher value among others within the group. He is the center of attention and he totally enjoys it. How do you match his value? By befriending him!

If you want his respect and attention the best thing to do when you approach him is to match his body language and speaking patterns. If he has open body language and he talks with excitement and joy, don’t go there with crossed arms and with an attitude of negating his words.

Approach him with the same amount of excitement and show openness and interest.

19) When someone insults you, either ignore him or mock him. Never lose temper. Always control the frame.

Haters are everywhere. The more you feed them with hate, the stronger they become. Never lose your temper. This is a great example of how to deal with a hater. Enjoy!

19) Stand up straight, have warm hands and always keep eye contact.

• Keep a straight posture and walk like a born leader. This sub-communicates confidence and others will respect you automatically.
• Keep your hands out of your pockets. If you don’t know what to do with them, it is better to fold your arms rather than keep them inside your pockets.
• Keep your hands warm. If you have a warm hand when you shake somebody’s hand, you immediately become a more desirable person to get along with. Secret Tip – wash your hands with warm water often to keep them warm or take cold showers.
• You have heard this a thousand times. Here is the 1001st. – never lose eye contact! Losing eye contact is like losing your confidence. One cool trick when first meeting someone is to focus on their eye color and smile at the same time. The eyes are the gateway to the soul, and taking the extra second to gaze shows you are confident and present. (Be sure to move your eyes away periodically, a constant stare will creep people out.)

20) The Benjamin Franklin Effect.

The Ben Franklin effect is a psychological finding:

A person who has done someone a favor is more likely to do that person another favor than they would be if they had received a favor from that person. Similarly, one who harms another is more willing to harm them again than the victim is to retaliate.

This is an unbelievable finding. In social situations, you can hack this by making someone do something small for you, then asking for your true favor. It’s such a small favor that they will say yes, and due to cognitive dissonance their brain will rationalize that they must like you enough to do you a favor in the first place. This is also called the foot-in-the-door effect.

21) Don’t be afraid to touch another person.

Touching someone on the shoulder or their knees creates an emotional and physical bond. Especially during moments of joy, laughter and excitement touching positively reinforces these traits. If you’re uncomfortable with touching, remember 12, fake it until you make it.

22) Use the door-in-the-face hack.

The opposite of foot-in-the-door. Make an unreasonably large request that will most likely be turned down (but if it isn’t then that’s even better!), and follow up with your true intended, more reasonable request. The other person will be more likely to agree to the second request.

23) Always frame a request as a choice.

No one likes to feel pressured into doing something they don’t want to do. By subtlety rephrasing a request, you can make the person feel like they came to the decision on their own terms.

Homeless people who say things like, “it’s up to you if you want to donate or not” end up making more money than those who simply ask for money. The same is generally true for bands that offer “pay what you want” payment structures for their music. They know you can easily download their music for free off the internet, so they encourage you to pay what you feel is right.

A slightly more aggressive technique is the assumptive close:

This is a classic sales technique that can be used in any social situation. Instead of asking for permission, “do you want to donate/go on a date/get something to eat” assume that the person already does. Of course, you can’t just force someone to do something, but a leading question can nudge them in the right direction: “Would you like to donate 5 dollars or 10 dollars?”

Now instead of simply saying yes or no, they have to actively deny your request and feel like a naysayer.

Learn more about the “paradox of choice” on Blinkist, here.

24) If you work in a bar or in customer service of any kind…

Put a mirror behind you at the counter. When an angry customer approaches you, he will have to see himself in the mirror and will most probably calm down. Nobody likes ruining his image.

25) Chew gum if you are nervous.

Evolutionarily speaking, our brains assume that if we are eating then we aren’t in any immediate danger, so the fight or flight response is weakened.

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