Rhetorical Analysis of “Why Our Memory Fails Us”

Psychology professors, Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons, in their New York Times article, “Why Our Memory Fails Us,” acknowledges the emotional influence of challenged memory and its tie to accuracy and sureness. Chabris and Simon’s purpose is to convey the impression that our tenacious confidence can produce fabricated remembrance, which leads to false convictions and effects our interpretation of controversial public events. They adopt a logical quality, with instances in emotive demand, to appeal to similar experiences of the readers. GOOD.

Chabris and Simons open with an infamous act of misremembrance by regularly credible astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. The scientist falsely recalled a religious chauvinism made by then president George W. Bush, when making a point of scientific awareness.  Chabris and Simons follow the story with Dr. Tyson’s defense of the memory, using his self-assurance as an example of “how we usually respond when our memory is challenged.” Dr. Tyson’s intellect makes his mistake relatable, almost an empathetic charm to the audience.

The tactic is used to describe Bush’s false recollection of the 9/11 tragedy, claiming he witnessed the first plane crash and spinning it as an overly critiqued leak of the truth and conspiracy.  In an almost comedic tone, the author’s paired Hilary Rodham Clinton’s untruthful reminiscence of open fire with statement “bullets instead of children.” Clinton’s false memory trip to Bosnia was paired with “Dr. Tyson, Mr. Bush and Mrs. Clinton are all intelligent people” – a needless statement to prove the possibility of false memory.

The writers continue with building indication that overconfidence contradicts lack of evidence, without factual encouragement. The National Academy of Sciences is used as a reference twice in the article, both when tying the idea that distorted memory has been a chief accomplice in “mistaken identification in courtroom proclamations.” Very little objective backing is given to support these statements; this appeals to the audience’s emotions by claiming false memory conclude in false convictions, a sensitive issue.

However, Chabris and Simons articulated that the only confidence lies in every memory equation. According to phycologists’ Henry L. Roediger III and K. Andrew DeSoto study of human word recollection, confidence was produced with both high and low accurate declarations. Experiments mimicking the “telephone game” completed by phycologist Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett further explain that we can recall our own memories, but not extract perfect record of them. Irrevocably, the journalists describe a study not specifying its experimenter, affirming that flashbulb memories, those that are vivid and ardently arousing, can be inaccurate as well.  The outpouring of logical evidences provides an analytical attractiveness, facts that readers trust.

The article’s comment sections showcases two understandings. New York Time’s picks displays a Medford citizen’s agreement with honest mistake making, Dr. Tyson’s response to the matter and a further reference with book “Remembrance of Time Past” in supporting the article’s argument. Reader’s Top picks place the scientist’s feedback up top and second place is substituted with politically humorous statements made by former President Bush, unbeneficial to the views of Chabris and Simons. The comments section encourages perspective, but that same sharing of information can distort a standpoint – almost adds to the argument of distorted memory. Nonetheless, ranking comments should be dependable solely to number of views, not the newspaper’s idea of what is appropriate to the story, it is a contradicting bias.



About Natalie Melendez
Hello everyone! Welcome to my page of happily being Natalie, where you'll see all my latest outings and interests unfold. I am outgoing, adventurous and appreciate any feedback you all have to give on my page. Now, let's get started by looking at my most recent blogs down below, enjoy!

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