Elizabeth Pena Team 11

Thesis statement: An analysis of the way ethos, pathos and logos are used by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J Simmons in the article “Why our memory fails us”. (write the article title exactly as it is written, capitalize first letter of each word)

Authors Chabris and Simmons have present a variety of appeals present in the article “Why our memory fails us”.The audience reading an article on memory will feel more comfortable and deem the information true just by knowing that both writers are professors. Furthermore, by including Dr. Tyson in the article, the authors managed to catch the attention of a broader audience. Anyone who watches Cosmos (capitalize) knows who Neil Degrasse is, and will most likely want to read about what links him to why memory fails. The authors also included Bush’s mix-up regarding the 9/11 events, and including an example of Hilary Clinton miss-remembering a missed meeting in Bosnia due to running away from “sniper fire”. When the reader sees names that they are familiar with, and names that they are to trust because of their positions; president, politician, scientist etc, then what the article says must be true.

Mentioning these authority figures also appeals to the readers emotional side. By knowing it happens to these important people, they understand it can happen to anyone. Pathos is also present when the authors mention the amount of innocent people that are wrongly convicted due to someone’s false memory. When the readers are encouraged to “accept each other’s mistakes”, and told that memory failure is extremely common and it does not make them any less honest, giving the reader a sense of safety and comfort.
Aside from credibility and emotional appeals, Chabris and Simmons presented factual evidence, targetting the audience’s logistic side. They achieved this by including studies and experiments made with the purpose of further understanding why memory fails. For example, the study by Roediger and Desoto where they tested word recall, the studies showing our flashbulb memories can be inaccurate etc. Presenting these studies and evidence on the topic not only adds to the reading’s credibility, but also targets the reader’s intellect. (good point) The article has an informative yet thoughtful tone. The authors wanted to inform us on why memory fails while also reassuring us that it is totally normal that it does. The top comments were selected by the readers because of the rhetorical techniques used by the commentators. I believe ranking the comments to be effective because it allows us to see what the readers relate to the most.

Neil Degrasse is one of the top three comments, and one of the people mentioned in the article. He is presenting his argument and explaining why the mix-up occurred, which has an appeal to emotion and people’s need for understanding. He also includes that he was mentioned in Obama’s speech, which appeals to ethos and proves the quality of his scientific knowledge. Ethos and pathos are also present in Keith’s comment since he calls Bush unintelligent and includes a website full of his quotes, this will cause people to react, whether it be in agreement or defense. Lastly, Jacob’s comment agrees with the reading by appealing to emotion and saying although everyone has false memories, it does not make them any less honest.

Overall good writing style, remember to be concise. Avoid using ‘etc.’ be specific or jut leave it out. 

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