Why our memory fails us analysis

FIRST NAMES? Chabris and Simons have a very simple straight forward argument; our memories are not reliable and often fail us. Throughout their article they prove this point using multiple approaches and they do this in a very interesting way. This article is written in a way where there is a strong logos appeal but pathos is built right into the facts themselves. This approach gives the reader some hard evidence to stand on but at the same time tugs at their emotions.

They play on our emotions by using facts and case studies; right off the batTOO INFORMAL in the first paragraph we see an example of a failed memory on the part of Neil Tyson in which both Bush and 9/11 are mentioned. There is record that Dr. Tyson made a false statement, that’s a fact. “One of his staple stories hinges on a line from President George W. Bush’s speech to Congress after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.” But with just this one line, which precedes those facts, Chabris and Simons already have a hold of the hearts of millions of Americans before they even read past the second sentence of the article. Just the mention of Bush (a very controversial politician) and 9/11 (one of the worst tragedies in American history) draws on the reader’s emotions and keeps them reading. The combination of pathos and logos continues throughout the entirety of the article with the mention of Bush and 9/11 time and time again. Another way Chabris and Simons achieved their pathos stuffed logos is by using facts involving big names, prime example is when they mention the failure of memory that Hillary Clinton encountered. They were indeed facts but because it was such a big name the reader feels almost relieved and surprised to know that a memory blunder can happen to even someone of her caliber. The idea, which is very hard for us to grasp, that our memory isn’t always correct seems more believable because of this writing technique. We can even go back to the beginning of the article and see this technique used again when we learn of astrophysicist Dr. Tyson’s blunder regarding the Bush speech. In my opinion, although the article is full of facts and case studies, I find the tone to be informal. Almost as if the writers are saying “Look even the likes of politicians and astrophysicist can’t trust their memories, so you shouldn’t either” That simple thought comes together perfectly and along with the facts and case studies sprinkled in I feel that their message was heard loud and clear. When it comes to the top 3 comments at least on the readers pick side the arguments mainly use the logos approach as the commenters try and get their point across using pure facts such as links to quotes or just logical reasoning “Do I really think somebody let the air out of my tires, or overcooked my burger just to annoy me?” as stated by one commenter. When looking at the NYT picks there is a more serious tone still the same logic driven arguments but there’s more of a debate of whether the initial argument is even true. I absolutely think the times ranking system is effective as it gives the reader a broad scope of opinions; comment sections online are a feeding frenzy of people out to create and use alternative facts, it’s safe but sad to say that it is needed otherwise that echo chamber just gets nosier and nosier




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