Our Memory Can Be Deceiving: Rhetorical Analysis in Chabris and Simons ” Why Our Memory Fails Us”

Thesis Statement: Chabris and Simons create their argument by giving factual examples of how a memory can be inaccurate, citing substantial facts and effectively engaged in an emotional appeal, towards the end. [excellent analysis] 

The way our memory works could be a practical joke on our own self-awareness. Authors, Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons, wrote ” Why Our Memory Fails Us,” Published in 2014 in the New York Times, they argue that although our memory is described with high confidence, we still tend to mistaken those memories and interpret them wrong.

[Analyze rather than summarize.] In the article, Chabris and Simon began their explanation by giving the analyses and example of Dr. Tyson, an astrophysicist and host from the T V show “Cosmos,” and his mistake on falsely quoting a statement that George W. Bush stated, during his speech to Congress after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Chabris and Simon continue by explaining how one’s memory can be inaccurate by our own confidence. The authors will argue, that sometimes our own memory fools us not because we do not remember but because we are so confident in our own belief of our memories accuracy. The problem with remembering precisely, can fall under the ability to be overconfident in our own experiences; leading us to only remember what we acclaim to be important. [How do the commenters use the rhetorical triangle to make their points?] On one of the NYT commenter picks, the commenter argues that we do not lose our memory but rather we faulty use the memory due to laziness. Also, the misinterpretation of memories happens because humans believe that memories cannot be falsely interpreted and when questioning is involved, emotions play a huge role. Through Chabris and Simons analysis they have concluded that our memory is defiantly altered by our own nature and we should not be criticized for it, as we are all humans that make mistakes.

Thru the piece, Chabris and Simon use convincing sources in which reinforce their credibility and clarification through ethos, as well as creating their argument. The sources include, “cognitive psychologist Henry L. Roediger III and K. Andrew DeSoto,”[use of ethos] “tested how well people could recall words from lists they had studied, and how measured they were in their recollections,” and “psychologist Sir Ferederic Charles Bartlett,” “conducted a series of experiments that mimicked the “telephone” game…” (qtd. in Chabris and Simon). Chabris and Simon greatly boost their credibility by effortlessly providing studies [use of logos] conducted on memory by psychologist. Relying on these facts the authors can argue on why our memory tends to mislead us, while also giving the reader a candid and cautionary viewpoint. The authors sympathetically assured [use of pathos] readers that we are all humans and mistakes are to happen, even if it’s with our own memory.

In addition, many commenters appeared in this article stating their opinion, while others were chosen as top picks, both by readers and the New York Times. Ethically, the top picks were commentators that strongly agreed or disagreed with the authors but had an explicit response to their argument. The top picks received much attention because their statements were so clear and convincing [Relate to rhetorical triangle.] . The readers and NYT picks did not differ but rather were very similar in grabbing the attention of the reader itself. Comments is effective and is a good way for readers to interact as well as a critic for the authors to reflect on.

Works Cited

Chabris, Christopher F., and Daniel J. Simons. “Why Our Memory Fails Us.” New York Times. N.p., 01 Dec. 2014. Web.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: