Nadia Diaz

Thesis Statement: The trajectory of the deadly attacks in Barcelona were shaped by media outlets all throughout the world. Newspapers and news stations brought the story, along with pictures and video footage to reach all audiences.

In “Why Our Memory Fails Us,” by Chabris and Simons, they choose to build their case on the problems of relying on one’s memory through the use of logos. Chabris and Simons argue that we tend to have overconfidence in our memory. They also believe that we reconstruct memories from our past to the present and compare this to the “telephone,” [improper punctuation] game. Chabris and Simons state that our memories change to coincide with our beliefs about our world and ourselves. They primarily rely on facts and studies to support their arguments. Some of the ways in which they do this are by mentioning studies from cognitive psychologists Henry L. Roediger III and K. Andrew DeSoto, the National Academy of Sciences, and psychologist Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett.

Chabris and Simons make a connection to ethos by demonstrating credibility through Simon’s participation in the expert panel for the National Academy of Sciences. Using credible studies and facts from organizations and psychologists allow their arguments to have more reliability.

The tone of the authors is candid and stern, and relates to the pathos of the article [Pathos refers to emotional rhetoric. Specific examples needed]. In the last paragraph, this tone is made clear as they state when our memory fails us we should simply admit the error, apologize and move on from it. Chabris and Simons also demonstrate their tone when they state we are all fabulists and we should get used to it.

The top three comments in the readers’ choice were convincing by others because of their use of ethos, logos and pathos. The first comment comes from Neil deGrasse Tyson himself, who is frequently mentioned and referred to in the article. His comment provides credibility because it shows his direct public statements. The top two comments provide facts about references to quotes and statements made in the article. The third comment has an emotional appeal because it is sympathetic to our failing memory by emphasizing on honest mistakes, which is something many readers can relate to.

In reference to the Times approach to ranking comments, I believe it is effective and needed. When going through all the comments, I believe the editors look for engaging, thought [hyphen] provoking and neutral remarks. These neutral, yet intelligently interesting comments in the NYT Picks allow us to step outside our own beliefs and take a look at a new perspective that enhances the significance of the article.

On the contrary, the readers’ choice can deliver comments that present facts and allow us to support our opinions through emotional appeal by looking at the top comments readers felt they could relate to. Without the readers’ choice and NYT Picks, comments are left in an echo chamber, as stated by Virginia Heffernan in “Comment is King. [Interesting point]” This echo chamber makes it hard for readers to find the comments that are worth reading, in the sense that they are intelligent and engaging thoughts. Overall, the Times approach to ranking comments provides readers with arguments that can appeal to someone’s logos or pathos.


Facts, Emotions, and Experiences.

Writers Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons back up their case with ethos, logos and pathos throughout the article, “Why Our Memories Fail Us”. They discuss the reasons behind the confusion our memory causes and explains them through examples of studies, anecdotes, and emotions.

Chabris and Simons begin their article explaining how Dr. Tyson recalled President Bush being prejudice while addressing the attack of 9/11. Dr. Tyson was wrong about the statement by President Bush and his memory confused it with a separate event in which that sentence was stated. Due to the confusion Dr. Tyson experienced many critics accusing him of being unreliable as a scientist. This situation is a perfect example about how they use ethos to make a connection. Chabris and Simons then took their investigation further and included a study by psychologists Henry L Roediger and K. Andrew DeSoto. They had people study a list of words and would ask to recall them. The study showed that higher level of confidence of the words that were actually on the list was associated with greater accuracy. When words were mistakenly recalled due to similar words on the list, signifying a false memory, people had high confidence but low accuracy. The study is a great combination between logos and pathos because it is an experiment through people’s ability to recall their memory and the emotion of being confident [somewhat of a stretch for pathos]. As the article continues, Chabris and Simons explain “flashbulb memories” and how they occur due to emotional events that distort the memory. This causes humans to cling to these thoughts with great confidence such as the study by Roediger and DeSoto.

Many facts and studies are carefully placed and explained in the article. From using Dr. Tyson’s recollection and Roediger’s study with DeSoto, many points are made because of these facts. Emotion does play a role in the article but it is not meant to play with the emotions of the audience [Great point!]. It is meant to show how a person’s emotion could alter the memory of an event. They also explain the “telephone” experiment by psychologist Frederic Charles Barlett as well as facts from the National Academy of Sciences.

Chabris and DeSoto use their tone in the article to educate society as to why memories might be recalled differently amongst a group of people. They stick strongly to the facts and studies instead of writing about their emotions to the proposed question. In the comments, some people let their opinions about President Bush and Hillary Clinton effect their judgment on the article, such as Keith Dow under “Reader’s Picks”. [period inside quotes] A comment by Dr. Neil Tyson himself is under the “Readers’ Pick” which allows readers to quickly access his own opinion on the matter. Many comments in the “Readers’ Picks” are written emotional because of a belief while “NYT Picks” are expressed through logic and thought. The top three comments each speak about different kinds of opinions, which could resonate with all types of readers making it more effective and influential. [Great work!]

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Rhetorical Triangle by: Dominic Hills

Thesis Statement: Logos, pathos, and ethos make-up an important part of writing known as the rhetorical triangle. Through the rhetorical triangle, authors such as Chabris and Simons have been able to publish articles presenting an argument and websites such as “The New York Times” have been able to create an effective comment section to add to the discussion of such articles.

In an article published in “The New York Times” titled Why Our Memory Fails Us, authors Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons present an argument as to why relying on memory leads to misinformation. These writers develop their ideas by using an example of when relying on memory led to misinformation and then describing studies that prove their point. They utilize a professional and steady tone throughout the article causing the reader to think that the two know what they are talking about. In this instance, the tone allows the authors to persuade the audience through a perceived credibility. This form of persuasion is known as ethos, which is the credibility of the author in the subject they are writing about. In addition to ethos, the authors utilize a persuasion technique based on facts proven by previous experiments and case studies, [use semicolon or break sentence into two] this is known as logos. The two authors mention a paper written by two psychologists that shows that in a test, subjects were asked to memorize a list of words and when repeating it, they were just as confident in their right answers as their wrong answers (Chabris and Simons) [break into two sentences]. In doing so, the authors provide an experiment that was conducted to provide facts in support of their argument causing the reader to accept it as truth. The two authors also utilize a third persuasion technique known as pathos that persuades by appealing to a reader’s emotion. In a portion of the article, Chabris and Simons refer to the fact that due to memory lapses, it is possible that innocent people have been convicted of crimes and sentenced to death. These statements appeal to the reader’s sense of morality and causes them to question if the court system can rely on testimonies and memories for convictions. It also raises the question on whether or not a person’s memory can be trusted for anything.

Aside from the article itself, many readers leave comments talking about the article whether they be productive and helpful comments or just plain ignorance [sentence agreement: correct word is ignorant]. “The New York Times” (NYT) utilizes a system in which readers pick their favorite comments and the editors pick the most intellectual. Of the top three reader picked comments, only one was picked because it criticized the author for saying that Bush was an intelligent person. Two of the top three reader picked comments actually present information that can be added to the article. One appears to have been left by Dr. Tyson himself and appears to have been picked due to the ethos aspect of the comment. The final was written by a regular reader and was chosen because he utilizes logos to present more cases in which relying on memory has been problematic. Compared to the NYT Editors picks for comments, the readers comments vary slightly. The top three comments picked by the NYT editors utilize logos to get their point across, but do so in a much more professional tone. This allows readers to read the few comments that contribute something to the article, adding to the discussion.

Rhetorical analysis Nicholas Buckeridge

Most articles are written in a way to persuade or somehow get the reader to believe what they say and be on their side through methods of appealing to someone’s pathos, ethos, or logos. The three articles “Comment Is King”, “Why Our Memory Fails Us”, and “Don’t read the comments” all use techniques which can be broken down and analyzed through the rhetorical triangle and rhetorical analysis. This triangle and analysis helps the audience know which direction in which [repetitive] they want their writing to go, and that all depends on the type of audience they want to receive it. It helps to not only organize the thoughts (of the author) but it helps the audience get a clear understand of the message(s) that the author is trying to convey.

In the article, “Comment Is King” by Virginia Heffernan, it informs you of just the kind of hatred, author Anne Applebaum always receives. She is an American political journalist that lives in Poland and makes appearances in the Washington Post and on Slate. Virginia Heffernan states that Applebaum receives comments such as: “Anne gets just about everything wrong, “a lapsed neo-con addict.” One comment was used to pronounce Applebaum as a “literal fool.” This article, as well the article “Don’t read the comments” Krystal D’Costa both talk about how anonymous users get a sense of freedom is commenting on all the things that an author did wrong; [improper use of semicolon] so to speak. But in this article, it’s almost as if Virginia is stating that commenters feel a sense of authority because they can state anything they want, no matter how untrue it may be. But it’s also saying that because of all the negative comments, it makes it impossible to “keep listening for the clearer, brighter, rarer voices” that are being drowned out online. What this article, makes one (like myself) [re-write sentence to make more clear] is the writers sense of pathos. For the reason, that we feel bad for the writers, such as Anne Applebaum, get. When all they’re trying to do is state their viewpoints on different subject matter; just like the rest of us. [Assignment did not request an analysis on Heffernan’s article. Instead, you were to use the knowledge from Heffernan to analyze Why Our Memory Fails Us.]

In the article “Why Our Memory Fails Us,” by Neil Degrasse Tyson claims that President Bush’s prejudice about Islam is [a] “powerful example of how our biases can blind us.” He says that Bush “wasn’t blinded by religious bigotry, but instead fooled by his faith in the accuracy of own memory.” [Incorrect. The authors said that, not Tyson.] This shows that people’s speech can be determined by their own religious beliefs or moral standard to an individual [or group of people]. In the beginning of the article, Neil makes a quote from President Bush, and when asked how he’s sure about the information he’s provided, he states: “I have explicit memory of those words being spoken by the President. I reacted on the spot, making note for possible late reference in my public discourse. Odd that, nobody seems to be able to find the quote anywhere.” At first, one wouldn’t think that’s weird that a recollection couldn’t be found about President Bush saying this. Why? Because of the power of ethos. Neil Tyson has proven his credentials by being, so to speak, ‘the right-hand man [Where is that information coming from and why is it in single quotes?].’ But upon further reading, you learn that Sir Frederic Charles Bartlett conducted a series of experiments that mimicked the “telephone game.” From there, it was proven that down the line, stories become distorted and completed unreliable. Just as was Neil Tyson’s recollection of a statement that President Neil Fragment sentence. And do you mean president Bush?]. It has been tested and proven that one memory over time becomes distorted, and unreliable [Repetitive]. By describing and stating the experiments, case studies and facts about how memory can get distorted over time; [semi-colons separate two independent clauses] this is a use of logos.

The article “Don’t read the comments” by Krystal D’Costa from the Scientific American basically wrote about how being able to share your opinions, anonymously, is beneficial. Because you’re able to get a response in a heartbeat and there are no lasting consequences. But by doing things anonymously, you’re putting a mask on yourself, just to get the satisfaction of ridiculing someone behind the comfort of your computer screen. This is an appeal to ethos because in the article, she makes it easy to persuade the audience into agreeing with her; which helps her establish a sense of credibility towards the audience. Krystal D’Costa always appeals to the use of pathos by describing the sense of “freedom” commentators get from writing hate on a post and not having anyone to answer to; besides the other viewers and commentators online. [Assignment did not request an analysis on D’Costa’s article. Instead, you were to use the knowledge from Heffernan to analyze Why Our Memory Fails Us.]

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Chabris and Simon explain to readers that we all make mistakes when it comes to recollecting memories by using an altercation between Tyson and the media to highlight that anyone can make an error of judgement and are responsible to apologize and move on for said error. [run-on sentence]

The article begins with Chabris and Simon identifying and describing Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s public story of his opinion on a speech given by Bush after 9/11, where he said “Our God is the God who named the stars.” The writers use our emotional attachment to 9/11 and the negative outlook most people reading would have on Bush [How so? Examples needed]. Once Chabris and Simon clarify the falsity of the quote, the reader will be inclined to believe that Bush,  used his words to create an “Us vs Them” concept in America’s mind [mind of Americans].

The writer’s are quick to pull us from under the rug when they reveal that it was not Bush that was misinformed, but Tyson that fooled himself. With Tyson’s credibility out the door, it becomes Chabris and Simon’s job to explain how this came to be.  The writers compare Tyson’s reaction to the media to entertainment [word choice: sentence is unclear] that has made a point that people construct their memory based on their biases and confidence. Simon and Chabris support this notion by providing evidence from scientific studies that show that confidence in [a] past memory could lead to a false representation of what happened, leaving us with a morphed memory [redundant].

Now that Simon and Chabris have been able to solidify their findings, they come back to Tyson, who apologized about his earlier statements once he found his error to be undeniable. They continue by saying that all people should recognize their human mistakes just like Tyson did and quickly contrast his behavior with those of politicians. Bush, recounting [recounted] that he had seen the first plane crash even though he was informed after the fact. Hillary Clinton claiming [claimed] to have run away from gunshots on a trip to Bosnia, in reality “she was met by children, not bullets.” Simon and Chabris were able to humanize the politicians and highlight their mistakes, hoping to entice similar practices [word choice: The authors are not “enticing” anybody or anything. Entice has a negative connotation. Exercise simplicity and use caution in your writing.] of self-doubt and credibility.

The top comment on the article is by Neil DeGrasse Tyson himself who posted a link to his exchange with a journalist and a public apology for his mistake, which would resonate with most reader’s [eliminate apostrophe] due to his credibility and sincerity. The second comment bashes the article’s opinion on Bush’s credibility and education by posting a list of his uneducated and inappropriate comments. This popular sentiment of the president’s foolishness would grab any reader’s attention as he also provided verifiable quotes.  The third top commenter uses his own personal experience and outlook on the subject to empathize with people’s ability to make an honest mistake, which everyone has done in their life.

The NYT Picks are more concise and provide more perspectives on the subject rather than the reader’s picks which has Tyson showing us what we know and someone who focused mostly on the writer’s support of Bush’s intelligence. While several of NYT Pick comments are clearly supportive and in line with article’s main message, there is also space for a comment that boiled the main point down to “mental laziness” which brings a unique outlook that could benefit us.


Rhetorical Analysis: “Why Our Memory Fails Us”

Thesis: For example, Dr. Tyson made a mistake and implied that President Bush was prejudice against Islam, he believed his beliefs instead of the facts, and his thoughts contradicted the actual information. [A thesis doesn’t start with “for example”]

The article on the New York Times “Why Our Memory Fails Us” by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons shows great examples of rhetoric. From my understanding of the article, the article first starts off by describing Dr. Tysons misunderstanding of President Bush’s speech. For example, Dr. Tyson made a mistake and implied that President Bush was prejudice against Islam, he believed his beliefs instead of the facts, and his thoughts contradicted the actual information. Most importantly, I believe Dr. Tysons example is a major reason why Chabris and Simmons succeeded in this article.

Both Chabris and Simons seemed to have achieved Logos [lowercase] in this article. Throughout the article Chabris and Simmons [spelling] established well facts from different sources. For example, they wrote about a paper published by a psychologist who tested how well people are able to recall words from list they have studied to how measured [do you mean how confident?] they were in recollections. This is a great example of Logos in the article because Chabris and Simmons are making a factual and historical analogy to the audience. Chabris and Simmons to construct logical arguments so that the audience can take their writing into a logical understanding [rephrase entire sentence].

After reading the article multiple times I figured that both Chabris and Simmons were trying to provide accurate facts and examples to their audience. I believe their tone was a little persuasive because they want the audience to accept as true [eliminate as true] that we as humans make mistakes and do not have perfect memory. They have an appealing tone because they use a little bit of persuasion [redundant] with teaching. As I said earlier this article seems to focus a lot on Logos but also you can tell that there is a little bit of Ethos in it. The reason why there is some Ethos is because like I said [eliminate redundancies] before they seem to be a little persuasive but they also have credibility.

The top three comments were very interesting because they [eliminate] one of them was from Dr. Tyson himself. The comments showed why Chabris and Simmons article had very good points. Like Dr. Tyson a lot of people make mistakes like he did [repetition]. The thing is many do not own up to their mistakes. This article and the comments teach us that we should not be too hard on others for making mistakes.

The New York Times choice for the comments is effective. In the reader’s section, they chose Dr. Tyson and showed his statements on different quotes he has made throughout his career. The top three New York Times picks were effective because you can see the different opinions people have. I believe it is good to see comments so the authors can read how people feel about their writings. It gives authors different feedback and opinions and I think that can make authors become more successful writers. This article by Chabris and Simmons was very well formatted to its audience because it was a little persuasive and taught a couple of new facts as well. [proofread work]

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Thesis Statement: Memory is a powerful tool for our success in life, but we need to know it works and its flaws. [This is personal opinion. State an argument as to how the article’s authors use the rhetorical triangle to persuade readers.]

[Analyze the article rather than express personal opinion.] Our memory is one of the most important tools we have as human beings, but it may have some flaws we should be aware of if we are looking forward to rely on it. Furthermore, authors Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons, in “Why Our Memory Fails US”, have an interesting way of explaining how our memory works towards events and facts that we know of or have lived in the past, and how we tend to change them unconsciously. The way humans view and analyze things has a big relevance on this matter because everyone has a different point of view and ways of thinking. It is good to have the opportunity of viewing different opinions, but readers need to know how to identify the credibility and rationality of these before believing them.

[Analyze rather than summarize. How do the authors use the rhetorical triangle to convince the reader and how do they support their arguments? Remember that your coach has read this and all the other articles for the course.] Confidence in one’s own beliefs is important, but it can make you a fanatic instead of a rational thinker. Both authors use examples of this type of events throughout their arguments; events that have even publicly happened to well-known people in our society, such as George W. Busch and Hilary Clinton. They also further explain how eyewitness memory functions. They introduce the fact that people use confidence as a way of knowing if something is right or wrong; this being one of the main causes of memory distortion. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] A study is introduced in the reading, where the behavior of a group of people is examined when, after being presented with a list of words for only a gap of time, they are then asked to state weather [SP: whether] a word was on a list or not. In the study, when participants stated they were right about something and then find out they were actually right, their levels of confidence seemed higher; however, when they were wrong, their confidence levels appeared to be even higher. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] Another way this is presented as something that comes from within a person’s rationality is how comments towards an opinion can be of acceptance or completely unfavorable. This tends to happen when people just don’t want to accept the truth about something or think the author is wrong. This way the author is appealing to the audience’s rationality, utilizing real life examples from people who are highly accepted in society or recognized as influential towards others and demonstrate facts from studies of something that happens to everyone in general. [Separate topic sentences with paragraphs.] Both Chabris’ and Simons’ tone all throughout are smart and cautious, as they try to unfold a series of facts to the reader in a way that they don’t get caught up with their feelings. The rhetoric they use does make the reader think about a possible time that he or she has done this without noticing, but it doesn’t directly appeal emotions.

The reader’s picks in the NYT’s article have something in common, and its that they are not completely favoring the article. They all comment about the same thing, but they all have a different opinion. All of them use external sources, direct quotes, and even testimonies to support their points of view [Relate to rhetorical triangle.] , which makes me think they have a good credibility. But then again, they react to the article stating why the writer is right or wrong. On the other hand, the NYT’s picks are simple and easy to read; stating a clear point of view, while all having different opinions. I think the approach of ranking comments is effective because anyone can leave a comment and state that their information is legit [slang: legitimate], creating a volatile and controversial atmosphere for other readers.