Assignment 1: Rhetorical analysis of a New York Times’ article and commentary.

Amber Einhorn/TEAM 14

Good work, could use more analysis of readings rather than summarizing. It is important to write clear, concise sentences. Watch out for vague or confusing sentence structure.

In the NYT article “Why Our Memory Fails Us”, the authors Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons explain how our memories are mostly deceiving (“. . . are mostly deceptive)  and use strong rhetoric like ethos to persuade their audience. The constant tone in the article is about credibility, reliability, and fairness of what should be said as fact, because one’s memory and certainness at the time. (I don’t understand this?)They mention the innate need to believe that one’s memories are always correct, thus never leading one to question the reliability of what they remember or believe. Most of the time our memories are like a game of telephone, as the authors explained, the more years go by, the less authentic they remain.

The main example they use in the article is about a misleading misquote Neil Degrasse ( DeGrasse)Tyson mentioned on Cosmos (the TV show he hosts) about something George W. Bush said after the 9/11 attacks. The misquote was “To distinguish we from they” — meaning to divide Judeo-Christian Americans from fundamentalist Muslims — Mr. Bush uttered the words “Our God is the God who named the stars.” Tyson got major backlash as a scientist due to the inaccuracy of such a bold statement, which he didn’t fact check because he believed what he remembered was accurate. Instead, his memory confused two different speeches George W. Bush made and combined his own assumptions on the type of person the president was into one very real memory to him. Tyson rightfully apologized and explained where his confusion came from, which is the right thing to do as a scientist who should value truth and credibility.

Other examples the authors used were about politicians like Bush and Hillary Clinton, and how they have misremembered events that have happened in the past. The authors mention that “Dr. Tyson, Mr. Bush and Mrs. Clinton are all intelligent, educated people. Ordinary memory failures say nothing about a person’s honesty or competence. But how we respond to these events can be telling” which is a very strong usage of ethos with some empathy from pathos to deliver a quite compelling argument.

In the comments section of this article under “Readers Picks”, the top three comments include one from our very own Neil DeGrasse Tyson, who left more links and articles about what had happened in case others are further interested. He is using ethos as a way to gain reliability and confront his mistakes. The second commenter is specifically explaining about his disapproval over how the authors mentioned George W Bush as an intelligent, educated person among others. Including that the commenter believes the authors memories themselves of the past president are faulty, attaching several quotes said by Bush to prove their case. Which is a strong usage of logos and pathos. (not a complete sentence)The third top comment uses a strong rhetoric of both ethos and pathos, explaining that mistakes are common, and as long as people are willing to understand and acknowledged what they said incorrectly, that we should learn to give people the benefit of the doubt.


Rhetorical Analysis on Chabris and Simons article

Maria Grijalva

Team 14

Well-done Maria.  You went considerably over the 500 word limit.  Could use more analysis of readings, but overall good. Remove unnecessary words!  Write clear and concise sentences.

In “Why Our memory fails us” published in 2014, Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons use the rhetorical triangle knowledge to convince readers with facts, examples, and studies that we cannot rely on our memories since they are always changing.

Chabris and Simons are both psychology professors and authors of “The Invisible Gorilla: How Our institutions Deceive us.” One of their main points in this article comes from an expert panel made by the National Academy of Sciences to review the state of research on this topic, in which Daniel Simons served on. This is stated in the article, I don’t need to know it again in your post!

I know you are talking about the article!  Rewrite the sentence without identifying the article.  The article is written in a candid tone, with two purposes; one, to inform that we cannot rely on our memories even if we are confident about it because they are constantly changing, and two, to persuade us to admit errors and be more understanding with the mistakes of others.

As for the rhetorical triangle is concerned, Not necessary to use all those words!  a case study is presented where we see the use of logical reasoning (logos). Neil Degrasse  deGrasseTyson, a famous astrophysicist, mistakenly recalled a statement George Bush said about the 9/11 “Our God is the God who named the stars.” Mr. Bush indeed statements said that statement just not about the 9/11 but about Columbia Space shuttle explosion. Dr.Tyson insisted Mr. Bush has said that statement and he was confident about it. With that example, the article shows us that we rely on confidence as a signal of accuracy.

On the other hand, a study made by psychologists Henry Roediger and Andrew DeSoto discovered that for “false memories, higher confidence was associated with lower accuracy.” With that study, Chabris and Simons being both psychology professors, concluded that as accurate as we may think our memory is, it can also be mistaken. In this last part, we can see how is applied the ethical appeal (ethos), because the studies are made by psychologists which give the reader a trustworthiness of their work. The article also mentions that Daniel Simmons served in an expert panel made by the National Academy of Sciences that released a report that recommended procedures to minimize the chances of false memory and mistaken identification. Which This gives the reader the satisfaction that the author not only is a psychology psychologist and knows about the topic he is talking about but that the author also participated in a study which makes the article more reliable and fair. (a fairly long sentence, best to make two shorter ones)

Another ethical appeal found in the article is when he mentions a study made by psychologist Sir Frederic that mimicked the telephone game. The study helped Chabris and Simons to conclude that our memories easily change over time, when we recall our memories we do not extract a perfect picture of the experience, instead we are constantly adding details to it every time we recall it.

Lastly, emotional appeal (Pathos) is presented at the end of the article, “We should be more understanding of mistakes by others, and credit them when they admit they were wrong. We are all fabulists, and we must get used to it.” Both authors want to leave readers with a feeling of relief on themselves that we are all storytellers. In this world nobody is perfect, and there is nothing wrong with it, instead, we should get used to it and we should credit it. Accepting mistakes is good because they help for a better society.

We should believe what we see rather than what we remember.

Jeremiah Williams

Please put your team number on all posts. Thanks. Overall, well-done, but I didn’t see any analysis using pathos, logos, or ethos? Read instructions carefully and several times.

IDS 3309

Professor Pearson

From the moment one is able to notice their senses, they begin to collect information from their surroundings. As time goes on those observations turn into memories and experiences that form who we are, building our morals and beliefs. These are the experiences that make each individual act as themselves. Unfortunately most events that are cherished as memories never happened the way we remember them, almost as if we are living different, personalized versions of the same life story.

A New York Times article written by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons, titled Why Our Memory Fails Us, provides a new perspective on how we see the world. According to their studies most people have a very unreliable ability to recall memories. While we believe to see a replay of what occurred in real time, we are actually seeing an adlibbed version of a story we made up based on what actually happened. Their research implies that we might not be living a lie, but our biases and perception of ourselves have an impact on the way we remember things. The authors manage to capture the emotion of readers by forcing them to call into question everything they believe. The evidence produced by their research supports this, as it sounds more logical to believe your confidence would be higher when telling the absolute truth than a story you might not be sure of. Evidence found in Chabris and Simon’s article supports the opposite, finding most people are more confident in the made up parts of their “memory” than their real ones. This remains true even when evidence proves that person wrong.

The authors are able to provide facts while calling on the emotional support of readers. A part of setting the tone for this article was preparing the readers for an uncommon way of thinking. It can be challenging to accept another belief system over your own, especially when the other side has evidence, but growth is the ability to adapt to new information. By giving a good appeal to both logic and emotion there was never an overly informative tone to the article. It read very easy, as more of peer review than a New York Times article.

The top comments on the article were written by and voted up or down by readers of the article on the New York Times’ site. Once a land of filth, the comment section is where readers can express opinions. Since taking steps to filter out bad comments, thoughtful and insightful comments  now has flow ed to the top.This way of ranking comments on posted content should be adopted by more sites in the future. It allows for the public to engage with their favorite authors and creators of content without a few negative responses ruining the experience for all involved. In addition to that, these comments can enhance thoughts and conversation surrounding a topic. By giving those who are readers a chance to add their input it empowers individuals to add to the conversation and share information.