Alexandra Bello Team 16- Assignment One

Throughout the article, the authors use the three rhetorics (logos, pathos and ethos) to express the idea that the human memory is at heart very faulty. One of the main arguments proposed by the authors was the idea of how the credibility of a person can be tarnished as they remember a certain event poorly, which evokes the rhetoric ethos. The human being only has so much memory capacity, which is the reason why we cannot rely on it for such cases. This is also proven true when they also bring up the idea of how people try to be more confident when they don’t truly recall an event or name, in order to make up for the inaccuracy. A whole thorough study was done proving such a phenomenon, which evokes logos. The last rhetoric, pathos, is also demonstrated when another study is shown where people can sometimes let their emotions affect what they remember.

After fully analyzing the article, it can be said that it mainly focuses on facts and studies to support the arguments as opposed to evoking emotions. The only time they try to use the emotions of the audience is when bringing up how people can let their emotions affect how they retell the event, and even then, they barely do so. As previously mentioned, the authors focused on facts, which is seen through their tone. They write very realistic and focus on expressing their main ideas with a serious and analytical attitude. (good points!)

After reading over the reader picks comments, it can be said that some of the comments were very questionable in terms of what they argued and how they did so. In the first comment Dr. Tyson, responded to the article in an attempt to revive his credibility. He does so by providing links to discuss the matters mentioned in the article concerning his reputation as a scientist. The second comment by Keith Dow also uses the same rhetoric as Dr. Tyson. In an attempt to bash on Bush’s reputation based on some of his past quotes, he tries to weaken the authors’ arguments. In the third comment, by Jacob Sommer, he focuses on how humans remember negative experiences with the feeling that these encounters occurred with malicious intent. He logically adds onto the authors’ argument while trying to show how a person’s emotions can impact their memory.

When it comes to ranking the comments, it seems to be very ineffective from what is seen. The first two comments did very little to add onto the matter however, were still able to be at the top of the comment section. Meanwhile the third comment added onto the discussion through logical reasoning and was not ranked as high as it should have been. The major flaw with the ranking system is the inability distinguish which comments are relevant. Overall, the points provided by the authors concerning the human memory are well constructed and use the three rhetorics in a way that allows them to convey their message.

Hi Alexandra,

Good work!  You made some excellent points and discussed the articles very well. 

A Failing Memory?

I need to know your first and last name, and team number. I can review this but cannot post a grade to it. Please email me this info as soon as possible to

and in the future, always put that info on all assignments.


Many of us tend to think as though our memories are always what we heard, saw, or experienced, but the problem is that is not the case. Many things we think we remember can be true, or can for some reason be morphed into a completely different memory from what actually happened.

Individuals tend to rely on their memory often believing that they have an excellent one. However, after reading Charbris and Simons’ article, it is safe to say that our memory is not as precise as many like to believe. The authors show us how our memories can change, yet we still believe they are as accurate as they were in the past.

After reading “Why Our Memories Fail Us,” it is evident that Charbris and Simons consistently used ethos throughout the article. The authors relied more on facts and studies than they did play on the emotions of their audience. Even though they used more of an ethical approach, Charbris and Simons also used an emotional approach. They discussed former President Bush’s 9/11 speech and made an emotional connection with the readers, especially those who have a personal story with the events of that day. The authors also claimed that we are still human and it is okay if our memory fails. This claim appeals to the reader’s emotions because it shows to be accepting when an individual makes a mistake just as Dr. Tyson did.

Throughout the article, Charbris and Simons bring up several studies in order to help provide credibility to their statements. They use these studies in order to help enlighten readers on the topic of memory failure. When talking about how the National Academy of Sciences was reviewing the state of research on the topic of memory failures, it was mentioned how one of the authors, Simons, was on their expert panel. By not including the author’s prior involvement with the Academy, readers may doubt some information that has been provided.

The overall tone of the article is formal and serious. They consistently use logic and facts in the article to support their claims about our memory not being as reliable as we think and they stayed away from potentially being biased and stating their opinions. If the article was based on both facts and opinions, or solely on opinions, the target audience could potentially think that the authors are not credible.

Just as discussed in Heffernan’s article “Comment is King,” the top three Readers Picks comments were emotional. In the article, the authors referred to President Bush to be an intellectual. In one of the comments someone claimed to be appalled they called Mr. Bush intelligent, showcasing all of the quotes he has said throughout the years that has made him look as if he lacks intelligence. The top comment for the Readers Pick is Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s comment. He comes off as a bit irritated and includes links where he discussed his mishap with his memory further in a way to help clear up some things he may feel the readers of this article missed. Overall, all three clearly showed some type of emotion reflecting how exactly they felt in regards to what was mentioned.

Overall good work. Good writing style, clear and concise. Good job.

Lailah Johnson – Rhetorical Analysis – Group 16

Thesis statement: Chabris and Simons use rhetoric in their New York Times article on memory to appeal to the readers. They utilize logos, pathos, and ethos in order to convince the reader of their findings. (Not a true thesis statement! Reread your class notes on thesis)

The arguments Chabris and Simons present are appeals to logos, pathos and ethos. They reference several psychological studies and panels discussing memory, one of which included one of the authors. This is a clear appeal to logos, giving the reader case studies and experiments to reference on top of the authoritative voices from the mentioned psychologists and the authors themselves. The constant recollection of pop culture appeals to pathos, it connects the reader to emotional memories that are attached to a show or movie they may have seen. Chabris and Simons are both professors of psychology, this immediately gives them a level of credibility for the reader to trust what they have to say about memory, thusly appealing to ethos. 

The three reader-picked top comments were left by one Neil deGrasse Tyson, a user named Keith Dow and another named Jacob Sommer. Tyson’s comment links two Facebook posts that I assume he hopes will justify his mistakes. The initial comment left on the op-ed is an appeal to logos and ethos. He is trying to say that he has answered these questions several times and here are some sources to prove it. However, if you open the links that he attached I find that they do a poor job of explaining away any of the misspoken statements. The posts themselves are again not based in any factual evidence that can be found and verified, it all comes from his own memory. He repeats this point and I think it is an emotional appeal to say, “I’m only human, I make mistakes” but he also continues saying he remembered this as if him just being him is enough for the audience to believe and trust his words. Therefore, the Facebook posts receive different analysis of appealing to pathos and ethos. Dow’s comment appeals to the reader using ethos. Dow himself is not a credible source so he instead links to a website that can verify the multitude of questionable quotes made by former president George W. Bush. He creates a sense of trustworthiness by including reliable sources and testimony from the president himself, He does this all to discredit the statement of Chabris and Simons that Bush was an intelligent person. Sommer’s comment appeals to the reader using logos. He argues that most people have a very poor memory and can hardly remember everything that happens to them within a single day, including himself.  He tries to logically correlate his experiences to those of the reader and uses personal anecdotes to connect to the reader as if to say, “I know you’ve been there because I certainly have and I can’t be the only one”.

Personally. I’m not sure what the comment ranking system is supposed to achieve. It appears to be the same as a YouTube comment section in that the most liked comments become the top comment but being most liked doesn’t equate to the content of the comment. Whether the top comments are chosen y the editors or by the other commenters, bias is always inevitable.

Hi Lailah,

Overall good post. I’d like to see more analysis than summary. Good writing style, sentence structure and word choice. You did a very good job on the reader comments however, but not much on the actual rhetoric triangle. 

How we know what we know

Laurenth Alejandre Espitia

Hi Laurenth, 

You make excellent points throughout your essay and I enjoyed reading it. Good writing style, word choice and sentence structure. Overall good job, but watch the thesis!


Thesis statement: in the article, “why our memory fails us,” (please capitalize the first words in the title of the article) Chabris and Simons have applied pathos, ethos, and logos to make a convincing argument that has also attracted comments that have applied the same techniques. (I don’t understand your thesis – please review the class work on thesis statements. Also the Writing Center is a good source for assistance)

Chabris and Simons use logos to make their case on why memory fails us by using a paper published by cognitive psychologists, Andrew Desoto and Henry Roediger. Chabris and Simmons use logical appeal by citing reputable professionals concerning memory before concluding that “for false memories, higher confidence was associated with lower accuracy.” By saying that higher confidence levels during recollection is associated to lower accuracy, the authors succinctly explain “why our memory fails us.” The argument created by the authors is that everyone is susceptible to forgetting details of a past event. Hence, one can be confident about their memories and still be wrong when remembering something or an event. (good point)

Chabris and Simons apply the use of pathos to connect the reader to the text using an emotional appeal. By saying that “our lack of appreciation for the fallibility of our own memories can lead to much bigger problems…” the author elicits an emotional response from the reader. The line is written in such a way that the reader envisions the how their memories can lead to much bigger problems. In actual fact, no one is comfortable with big problems that can be caused by having a faulty memory. By doing so, the authors do not intend to play on the emotions of the reader because they use studies and facts to discuss memory.

Chabris and Simons present their case in a convincing manner but also apply ethos to sound more credible. An instance where the authors have used ethos is when they talk about the erroneous witness recollections and the role of national academy of science in convening an expert panel to make further investigation. Daniel Simons was in the expert panel and this gives him authority and a voice to discuss matters associated with memory. For this article, Simon’s contribution makes the discussion about memory to be credible. It is also the reason why the authors tone is informative.

The top three reader picks are convincing because the authors have applied pathos, logos, and ethos. The first comment is from Dr. Tyson who is featured in the article; his comment attracts attention because he is in a better position to give his thoughts about the Op-Ed, the effect of ethos is realized. Another comment that disagrees with the author about the intelligent of Mr. Bush is verifiable, which makes the comment convincing by applying logos. Finally, the third comment inspires a feeling of remorse because the writer gives a personal perspective of how memories can be faulty. Each comment has applied different rhetorical techniques to make them convincing considering that Heffernan perceives online commentary to be a “bête noire for journalists and readers alike.”

I think the Times approach to ranking comments is effective because they consider how much interaction a comment can attract. This is effective because relevant comments that do not show dissent or a scolding tone towards the authors. What is lacking in ranking the readers comment is the consideration of critiques. 

Shantall Suarez Team 16: Rhetorical Analysis


Thesis Statement: The authors of “Why Our Memory Fails Us, Chabris and Simmons build their argument on morphing memories by focusing on the consequences.

Like being wrongly convicted, basing some of their evidence on higher members of society, and explaining how our memory betrays the actual facts we perceive.  (Your thesis statement is somewhat incomplete. I might consider removing the entire second sentence and just use the first sentence. You don’t really need that second sentence and it just seems to muddy up your thesis. Perhaps work on that first sentence to be more complete)

Logos, being the definition of logic and reasoning is exemplified by Chabris and Simons in “Why Our Memory Fails Us”. The authors use Oprah Winfrey’s book “What I know For Sure” when creating stronger support for their idea that our  we are overconfident we have in our memories. , (remove comma, add period)

I am a bit confused about this next part….

“. . . is in effect of not having the validation, the act of fact checking to assure ourselves if they’re right. (this is a bit confusing. Can you put this part in positive rather than “not having the validation”) I would maybe make two sentences out of it. Applying the logical reasoning. (last four words are not a sentence?)

Chabris and Simmons address our faulty memory by exercising Pathos as well. S specifically, (remove comma) in the justice system. When they mention that “the National Academy of Sciences report strongly advising courts to rely on initial statements rather than courtroom proclamations…” because each time you retrieve a memory it morphs. Pathos plays its’ part in creating an image for a loved one being wrongly convicted because of a witness’s faulty memory and overconfidence in it. “A witness who only tentatively identifies a suspect in a police station lineup can later claim – sincerely – to be absolutely certain that the defendant in the courtroom committed the crime.” 

When it comes to credibility and having readers trust, Chabris and Simmons strategically use Ethos when making their argument valid. They use their reference of National Academy of Sciences to furthermore add light on the subject of a faulty memory, its consequences and their attempt in getting the readers to understand that its common, basically a subconscious act and an honest mistake that happens to everyone. 

Authors Chabris and Simons completely rely on the emotions of their audience here. The tone that is reluctant (reluctant?) throughout this article seems to be heavy (?) Heavy in the sense of learning of the unawareness of our own mind, and how our memory sometimes abandon the truth when we fully and completely rely on it. (I understand what you are saying but it could be better worded) (The tone throughout this article depicts the sense that if we learn about how our minds can often be unaware and how our memory may …..I don’t know if I understand where you are going with this”

The convincing comments in “Reader’s Picks” emphasize some of the points made in the article, like the idea of forgiving a faulty memory, for it happens to all of us from time to time. Keith Drow, (Dow) uses actual (all quotes are actual) quotes from George W. Bush to disprove the authors belief of the former president’s intelligence. The authors mention Dr.Tyson a handful of several times, and when directing focus to the comments, he went ahead and wrote his own take on the article. (a bit vague?)

 “Comment is King” by Virginia Heffernan, explicitly illustrates the importance in creating some type of division for the readers in what they choose to take an contribute to readings; educated opinions vs biased opinions, to my understanding. The NYTimes reader rankings are effective for using Virginia’s strategy, therefore a comment may have the ability to become common knowledge, at a simple glance or touch. In comparison to “All” comments, a couple of the points made were quite blunt. Some were supportive while others weren’t. Having the option to choose who’s opinion you’d like to read comes a long way. It has a more realistic approach, like when we choose who we listen to a talk to on a certain subject on a daily basis. 

Hi Shantall, Overall you made some excellent points, but your writing style is confusing. I’d suggest maybe making an appointment with the writing center to tidy up your future assignments.