Blog Post 1: Why Our Memory Fails Us

Chrisopher Chabris and Daniel Simons use extensive research in the New York Times article, “Why Our Memory Fails us”; [comma, not semicolon] with the use of ethos and logos to inform readers about memory distortion.

[Analyze rather than summarize.] “Why Our Memory Fails Us” is a formal writing which relies heavily on ethos and logos but rarely uses pathos to build its case. Both Chabris and Simons use a dignified, informative tone throughout the text. The information is presented confidently using powerful authority voices, sources and analyzation of experiments allowing the readers to trust in the information presented.

Chabris and Simons encompass logos throughout the work. They continuously bring up facts, and exact quotes from President Bush and compare it to what Dr. Tyson had said, versus what Bush had once said having sound something like what Dr. Tyson recalled. The article mentions our “biases can blind us.” It is followed by mentioning Dr. Tyson being “fooled by his faith in the accuracy of his own memory.” From here, the article focuses on informing how the mind can alter information and how it becomes challenged.

The case is built mostly on using information from Psychologist, which in turn gives the reader trust in the author [use of ethos]. These experts, such as Bartlett, have conducted experiments which were explained in the text thoroughly and add on to the problem on relying solely on one’s memory. The authors themselves can be considered as being extremely reliable given that Daniel Simons served in the expert panel for National Academy of Sciences; the same same academy that advised courts to “rely on initial statements rather than courtroom proclamations.” The authors never use the emotional appeal of pathos in the work. They rely strictly on facts and studies as I mentioned previously.

The top three readers pick comments were considered convincing by other readers given their relatability. In the comment by Jacob Sommer, he uses pathos. He mentions people make honest mistakes, and we should let the small things slide [note: Chabris and Simons write this, too]. I would say this ended up being popular by other readers because it was relatable in the sense that we all make errors, and we don’t remember every single detail of each day. He used ethos to become a trusted source, since he is revealing his faults as a human. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] Commenter Keith Dow focused on rational appeals [logos] to format his post. Dow uses a humorous approach starting his post off, as he says “I think your memory of Bush being an intelligent person is faulty.” He relied strictly on posting five quotes from President Bush, quotes in which his memory or intelligence had failed him. I believe his commentary gained popularity because of the viewers agreeing that President Bush was not the best President.

[Analyze rather than summarize.] The top New York times picks by Elizabeth and Peter elaborate on how we deny something ever happened when we don’t remember. Even watching something happen and replaying it back, major details are left out and vary. Again, these comments like the readers picks use ethos to gain trustworthiness [It’s the other way around]. Peter admits to having a memory problem [use of pathos].

All in all, the text was informative and used rational and ethical appeals to dig deep into the science behind why our memory fails us. This article has left myself and other readers mindful of what the mind is capable of altering.


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