Thoughts Behind ‘Why Our Memory Fails Us’

Thesis: The authors Chabris and Simons present ideas that are mainly logical, however they include a carefully weighed interplay of emotion and credibility to solidify their claims. FINE.

Psychology professors Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons explain the reasons why our memory can be inaccurate, faulty, and distorted. In the article “Why Our Memory Fails Us,” they introduce their viewpoints using Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s recalling of a memory of George Bush’s statement that in fact, was not a memory at all because it did not occur – at least not in the way Dr. Tyson remembered. This anecdote supports the authors’ stance on the problems of relying on one’s memory. They maintain that our lack of understanding for the inaccurate nature of our own memories can lead to falsity if we are overly confident in what we think we remember and are not careful to actively seek further verification. VERY WELL PUT.

Chabris and Simons resonate with people’s own interpretations of how they perceive their memory to function and present ideas that challenge this perception. With these concepts, the audience realizes new ideas and thinks back to a time they have felt the same way about their own memory. They also play on their audience’s emotions by giving calls to action. Considering their expertise in psychology, Chabris and Simons include an array of anecdotes, facts, experiments, and logical reasoning to support their belief of why our memory can be imprecise and lead to us conjuring erroneous happenings. Essentially, the facts and the emotional appeals are complements. For every emotionally charged statement, the authors embed many supplementary logical assertions. When claiming most individuals’ false preconceived notions of memory, the rest of the paragraph was dedicated to informing of the actual process of memory recall. Throughout the article, the authors have an explanatory and informative tone just as a professor would; granted, they are professors which gives them a strong and respectable presence. They have the readers’ best interest in mindWELL…IT’S HARD TO SAY. JUDGE NOT BY INTENTIONS and present their ideas to help them come to important realizations about their own memory.

The top three comments, submitted by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Jacob Sommer, and Keith Dow, were considerably popular among readers. Sommer used his own experience with mistaken memory as a technique to express that these blunders are usually common and benign. Tyson, which was featured in the article, used the opportunity to provide further insight into the instances of his faulty memory and admitted to his mistake. Dow provides quotes solely focusing on Bush’s errors as a technique, disregarding the article in its entirety. The NYT top three comment picks where the same as the readers, except instead of Dow, NYT chose Om Hinton. Hinton alludes to a piece by Proust and presents its similarity to Chabris and Simons’ article, regarding the authors’ beliefs. I think the Times approach to ranking comments is effective and necessary because it calls for reader engagement. Particularly, Tyson’s is the most important comment because he provides a further look at what the authors drew upon, in which case readers can formulate their own opinions about his case.


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