Memory failure happens anytime, we see people are not quite sure about what they say while some people are in an opposite way, they confident about it. Nevertheless, confidence in memory is good, but confidence in false memory can cause mistakes.

Why Our Memory Fails Us is an article posted on NYT by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons, who are both psychology professors and have deep knowledges of what they are saying. They argue that memory of each person relies on different perspectives of each’s mind, so false memory occurs and we as human should understand it.

Throughout the text, Chabris and Simon give examples on reliable sources of false memory; and the examples they give are from people who are intellectual and well-educated, also known as Ethos. Moreover, they tend to use facts, or Logos, to support their studies in people’s memory.  Not surprisingly, there is a small amount of Pathos using in the very end of the text, as they give an advice for the readers. Overall, following what both authors argue, it is clearly to see that the main reason for false memory is confidence, or overconfidence.

In the case of Dr. Tyson, he is an intellectual person, he has his own abstract understandings and his own points of view, he is confidence about the events he knows, and all of that could be the reason Dr. Tyson confidently believes his information about Mr. Bush is right. Dr. Tyson uses Pathos to prove his information while Chabris and Simons uses him as an example for their reliable source, or Ethos. They say, “when our memories are challenged, we may neglect all this and instead respond emotionally,” that emotional respond links to the overconfidence in memory; we rely on it “as a signal of accuracy,” so everyone else’s thoughts is inaccurate. Not only on the case of Dr. Tyson, but also in the case of Mr. Bush or of Hillary Rodham Clinton showing that although they are all well-educated people and they are recognized by the large amount of people, they still have false memories for specific situations.

As reading the comment sections of the article, easily see that Pathos is used in most of the comments. Surprisingly, in the Reader’s Pick section, the first picked comment is from Dr. Tyson, and he is the only one who uses both emotional and rational appeals in his comment. The other two picked comments use emotions rather than rational appeals. However, the second comment after Dr. Tyson’s provide proof for his “emotion.” In the NYT’s Pick section, readers use emotional appeals, comments are shorter and focus on what the text talks about. Interestingly, it seems to me that the Reader’s Pick comments are more about the events used as examples for main arguing while NYT’s Pick comments are about the “human memory” itself.

Both authors as psychologists have worked, researched, and experienced in their field, and they also have credibility to write such articles and teach students in university about their work. They let us know memory affects what we confidently respond to the others and we should know false memory can occurs anytime. People should accept it, admit it, and move on when our memory fails us.

Despite a few structural issues with language and sentence form, the critical application of concepts to reading is well-executed. Great job.


Gian Navas – Rhetorical Analysis

Thesis – Why Our Memory Fails Us effectively uses logos and ethos to construct an argument against the reliability of ones memory and the comments of the aforementioned article show a divide in tone with what readers upvote versus what the New York Times selects as featured.

The constructed argument in Why Our Memory Fails Us is that our memories aren’t infallible and they often times are variations of the truth. This is told by using the real world example of Neil deGrasse Tyson, a trusted famous scientist, and him misremembering something said by former president George W. Bush. By using these two figures our writers Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons, both psychology professors, establish an ethos through very public figures.

It also isn’t coincidence that the Tyson story chosen involved one of the more polarizing political figures in recent memory. This appeal to pathos and his polarity that engages the reader. The other draw to pathos is how, “this memory malfunction could or has happened to me.” That reliability sells ideas. And before the article wraps up the appeal to logos comes in with the presentation of scientific studies that support the idea that our memories are flawed. The tone of the article didn’t read that of an academic piece, but informative. I think by not alienating the readership with jargon and too many polysyllabic words it helps them when constructing their argument in a newspaper that has a more casual readership.

It draws on all three corners of the rhetorical triangle, however where the argument is build most concisely is through its ethos and logos. Using the credibility and notoriety of both Bush and Tyson to establish the argument and then using scientific studies to back it.

This then leads to the juxtaposition of pathos between the New York Times comment picks and the Reader’s Picks. Once the argument is made we see how readers interact with it, what do the comments reflect? The Reader’s Picks go on the offensive, attacking assertions made in the article while the New York Times picks are reflective on the reading.

Two of the top three Reader’s Picks comments were made to be critical of the piece in some way. Small claims like Bush is an intelligent man was central to the second ranked comment, it went about listing all the ways to make the point that he wasn’t. Despite the comment on Bush having fringe relevancy to the ideas expressed in the article, tit was the second ranked comment. Speaking to the divisiveness of political figures.

Tyson posted expansions of his thoughts on the matter and as a trusted public scientist his ethos in the discourse particularly about himself helps inform readers and both the New York Times and readers found it valuable.

By comparing the sets of comments we can see what is valued more by each faction. It goes anywhere from a very formal Neil deGrasse response to one reader who made a few jokes in the middle of his comment to one going in list format pointing out flaws in an assertion.

On the other side the New York Times picks have a more reflective tone. Many of the comments are digesting the information in a thoughtful way. These have a more logos approach to their discussion while the Reader’s Picks have a variation of the three.

Writing and analysis are done very well. I like the emphasis on the comment section. Good solid work.

Rhetorical Analysis By:Richard R. Thomas IDS 3309

Thesis Statement: In the New York Times article, “Why Our Memory Fails Us” by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simmons, both psychology professors, use logos in logical explanations regarding memory, pathos through rhetorical questioning, and ethos through real-life examples to construct their arguments.


Logos is one way Chabris and Simmons construct their argument. The quintessential case of this is when the writers state that, “[w]e rely on confidence as a signal of accuracy — in ourselves and in others”. Here, the point made is rational and justified as it is the our “overconfidence” quotidianly in what we see and do as most important leading us to remembering only what is significant and forgetting the insignificant. Thus, the argument Chabris and Simmons make in this point is consequently logical.


Chabris and Simmons also use pathos in the construction of their arguments. An instance of this is through rhetorical questioning to the readers when they pose, “Do our heroes have memories of clay?” This question gets the reader to think and question the memory of leaders in the country rendering readers somewhat pitiful in even the highest members of society. So,we see that even those who are esteemed for knowledge or lead the country are wrong in their memory too.


Chabris and Simmons use ethos to persuade their points to us on the fallacies of memory. One great example of ethos is through the case of Simmons in a jury, “…a comprehensive report that recommended procedures to minimize the chances of false memory and mistaken identification, including videotaping police lineups and improving jury instructions.” Here, an outside source, i.e. the report, besides that of the views of Chabris and Simmons renders their arguments more credible.


In summary, Charbris and Simmons construct their arguments using the three rhetorical appeals and rely more on the emotional playing of their audience compared to facts and statistics. Overall, these authors have an active tone in the article.


The top three reader’s comments were so convincing to many other readers because they demonstrated “originality and brevity” as stated in Heffernan’s article “Comment Is King”. These comments expanded on viewpoints and engagements in discussion, with the first pick i.e. a comment from Dr. Neil Tyson, also being civil, professional, open-minded to the ides of others, and complex enough to not allow the continuation of the “echo-chamber effect” as stated in Heffernan’s article “Comment Is King”, since various points are made in these three comments rather than a general broad comment many people can agree on and spread throughout the Internet.


In comparison to the NYT Picks, the Top Three Reader’s Picks are a better way to exchange opinions and ideas on the topic. An remarkable finding on the differences between the NYT Picks and the Top Three Reader’s Picks is: the fact that Dr. Neil Tyson’s comment was first on Top Three Reader’s Picks while it wasn’t first on the NYT Picks. From this observation, we can deduce that ordinary people’s comments may be more valued than that of accredited professionals. Although the NYT Picks comments are not short, they are based more on a position or stance in the matter and less on engaging discussion and exchanging ideas.

Excellent writing and analysis. I enjoyed reading this.

Rosa, Daymis, Rhetorical Analysis

Daymis Rosa

Team 18

Memory failure happens to the best of us, but admitting to it should bring some credit and understanding to the person.

Throughout the whole article “Why Our Memory Fails Us”, writers Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons, concentrate on all three modes of persuasion, when writing about an error, Neil Degrase Tyson, committed. Chabris and Simons, believe that memory failure could happen to anyone, but it shouldn’t affect their expertise or honesty.

Both writers use logos, pathos, and ethos in their writing, when trying to defend their argument that there could be error when relying on one’s memory. When it comes to the error that, Tyson, committed, the writers use pathos to indicate that Tyson’s bias blinds him to what was truly said by the President, during a speech made on the 9/11 attacks. The way he relied on the accuracy of his memory was what truly blinded him, and made him create these inaccurate allegations towards the President’s speech. They also use logos when they state that there was evidence on the fact that the President never said what Tyson, believed he said. That he was mixing up two different speeches the President gave, in different occasions. When the public got the evidence, they started questioning his credibility as a scientist and public advocate, which shows how they use ethos in this article.

Chabris and Simons, continue to express pathos when they go on to state that people get defensive and truly believe what they say they heard or saw when their memory is tested. They even disregard logos when their emotions get involved. Also, people tend to be confident when they are retelling their memories, without ever questioning if it’s inaccurate. Which also makes the people listening to this person believe them, due to their confidence level. Once that happens we fall back to ethos, by deciding whose memories we trust and find credible, which influences decisions we make when it comes to public events. Decisions, that through facts and demographics, have led to negative consequences and wrongful accusations.

Both authors, knew how to construct this article to get their readers to agree with them, that relying on our memory could sometimes bring errors. They expressed all three modes of persuasion, without having their credibility questioned. Their tone in the beginning was informative and they incorporated lots of logos and towards the ending they connected to the emotional appeal of their readers, with the concept of pathos.

When looking at the comment section of the article, it is seen that on the Readers Picks and NYT Picks both, Neil deGrasse Tyson and Jacob Sommer, made comments. Tyson, posted links and facts to go further into reading.While, Sommer, expresses pathos and goes on to say that people don’t do things maliciously, but that sometimes their memory does fail and they make honest mistakes. He believes that if someone admits to their mistake we shouldn’t be harsh on them, and should credit them. The ranking system is needed, because it blocks out trolls and unnecessary comments people have when they are reading these articles throughout the day, which could discredit the writers.


Some great insights. Good understanding of the reading and strong analysis. Many of the, commas, are superfluous.






assignment 1 – Liz Burga team 18

Thesis – Our memory doesn’t fail us, we just tend to forget that we’re all human. clever

Writers Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons use all the forms of rhetoric throughout their article, “Why Our Memory Fails Us”. In the beginning of the article, the writers use Dr. Neil Tyson’s public memory lapse as an example of how our memory can fail. A real-life example appeals to logos; it creates a notion that the rest of the story will be believable. Apart from using real-life examples, the writers appeal to logos by mentioning several scientific studies. First, the writers mention a paper published by cognitive psychologists Henry L. Roediger III and K. Andrew DeSoto. By mentioning this paper the writers prove that their beliefs can be backed by scientific research. In order to further back their beliefs, the writers mention a series of experiments conducted by Sir Frederic Charles Barlett. With these experiments, the writes have evidence about how easily our memory can change overtime.

The writers use pathos when they talk about what should be done in the event of a memory lapse. The writers refer back to Dr. Tyson’s mishap, but this time they use Dr. Tyson’s resolution, as an example of how others should handle similar situations. The writers say, “Politicians should respond as Dr. Tyson eventually did: Stop stonewalling, admit error, note that such things happen, apologize and move on.” It is important to note this because many people have pre-conceived notions about politicians. The writers use these notion to their advantage; they try to persuade readers into seeing how politicians should behave. The writers then use pathos to talk about how we all make mistakes. At the end of the article, the writers call everyone “fabulists.” This type of pathos is more passive aggressive; it appeals to the moral values of each reader.

The writers do include ethos, it is just very subtle. Ethos is used when it is mentioned that one of the writers, Daniel Simons, served on expert panel for the National Academy of Sciences. At the very end of the article there is a small description of who the writers are. Chabris is psychology professor at union college and Simons is a psychology professor at the University of Illinois, they are the authors of “The Invisible Gorilla: How Our Intuitions Deceive Us.”

The comments section of this article is rather interesting. The “readers’ picks” most liked comment is by the Neil Tyson; it’s clear why many readers would like his comment, he is mentioned often throughout the article. The second most liked comment has to do with how the article portrayed President Bush. The comment got so many likes because it contained logos, all the statements were backed up by several links to articles. The next comment is successful because it uses pathos, people feel like they can relate to what the comment says.

The comments in NYT section are more intellectual, they are either continuing or disagreeing with the arguments expressed by the writers. After reading the article and reading the comments, I believe the NYT way of ranking comments is effective. If you are reader who is looking for someone to relate to, go to the readers’ picks. If you are a reader who is interested in further understanding of the article or disagreeing with it, the NYT picks are for you.

VERY well done! Analysis, original insight, application of class concepts, writing all very strong!

Faulty memory does not determine a person’s intelligence. Monica Sofia Lebro. Team 18.

“Why Our Memory Fails Us” is an article of great objectivity when tackling the issue in discussion. Chabris and Simons do an impeccable job in presenting their argument mainly through logos and ethos with a small, but sufficient, amount of pathos. Interestingly enough, some of these rational and ethical appeals are linked to each other, creating a sense of rhetorical harmony that benefits the effectiveness of the authors to conceive their point. For instance, an enormous amount of ethos and logos can be attributed to the authors’ argument, when author Daniel Simons, was part of an “expert panel” that released research information used in the article to convey a point on false memory. This demonstrates how the authors in fact have great expertise related to the topic of the article; this contributes immensely to the overall credibility of both the authors and the article. Along this reading, expert testimony and reliable sources can be easily spotted such as the National Academy of Sciences, researchers and psychologists: Sir Fedreric Charles Barlett, Daniel Greenberg, among others.

Preceding the analysis of ethos, one is able to pinpoint the overwhelming use of logos. In fact, as soon as the article begins, an anecdote (logos appeal) talks about Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson and his quite faulty memory, when attempting to remember words spoken by President Bush. Chabris and Simons write some impactful lines to stimulate the logos appeal, by continuing the anecdote on Mr. Bush and how his faulty memory, failed him in properly remembering what Mr. Bush said he had seen regarding 9/11. The authors of the article then compare Degrasse Tyson and Bush’s lack of accuracy in their memory, in an attempt to prove that memory fails brilliant minds as well. In the article, there is also mention of a case study that was performed by psychologist Sir Frederic Charles Barlett, in which he tested the memory of several subjects. The paragraph where this experiment is talked about is another clear evidence of the use of logos appeal, providing facts and experiment results.

Pathos was utilized much less. Despite this, the authors used this appeal strategically. At the end of the article, the authors mention how memory failure is not the issue. Instead, the way we react when we forget something is, since it’s more “telling.” This calls readers to empathize with others and to self-examine. The authors finalize by emphasizing the importance of understanding mistakes, which appeals to the readers emotionally and generates sentiments of self-acceptance.

The readers’ picks comments sounded more criticizing, rather than insightful, specifically Keith Dow’s comment. Variously, NYT picks are more personal-opinion based and have a much more civilized tone. Personally, it is effective that NYT ranks comments, because NYT picks and readers’ picks satisfy public opinion differently, which is what a news source should always aim for. Perhaps the readers’ picks could at times lack an analysis of what is written in an article, such as Heffernan explains, but the NYT picks seem to be strategically picked to stimulate open, analytical debate.

Wonderful start to the semester. Very strong writing and excellent analysis!