Why Our Memory Fails Us Anylsis

Thesis statement: In the New York Times article,” “Why Our Memory Fails Us” by Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simons, both authors us the aspects of the rhetorical triangle (logos, pathos, and ethos) in a unique way- by providing a unique out-take of their writing. Professors Chabris and Simons used logos by examining the messaging and arguments presented, logical reasoning, pathos rhetoric provide different perspectives by their experiences showcased throw emotions, ethos can be defined as the appeal to the tone of the article- making the speech within the work more reliable or credible. Therefore, the rhetorical themes are exposed in different examples through this article. (good points all, but your thesis needs something that you can prove; you are making more of a summary here than a thesis statement!) 

Chabris and Simmons use ethos as a way to present an explained of fallacies told through our memory. An example of ethos came up when they discussed the Dr. Tyson recollection of a quote he took from former President Bush. Dr. Tyson relayed mostly on notes written and public discourse. This mixture is detrimental to the accuracy of a writer. How the public reacts to any situation, whether is positive or negative, they most report exactly what transpired; ultimately, they are defying the code of ethics “We have an abstract understanding that people can remember the same event differently,” and Chabris and Simmons. Ethos is also reflected in the case of Hillary Clinton’s trip to Bosnia. As First Lady, she ditched the welcome ceremony as she evaded a sniper attack on her way onto her plane. Her memory made a distant connection to an attack that transpired nearby, but this tragedy wasn’t near, therefore, her life wasn’t at risk.

Chabris and Simmons also use pathos as a way to represent how an audience feels or experiences a message. They used an example of former President Bush. He gave a tribute to the lost astronauts in the Columbus space explosion. Bush, in his speech, mentioned God several times through his emotional speech. This, therefore, creates an emotional connection with not only those involved but also to the millions of people listening in.

Logos is reflected as a way for Chabris and Simmons to present an argument. They mention that the sometimes our confidence can over barrel our memory; by recalling certain events that may or may not have happened quite the way we should preserve them. They said, “we then rely on confidence as a signal of accuracy — in ourselves and in others.”

In summary, the three areas of analysis, logos, ethos, and pathos are a unique way to analyze an article from a different perspective. I help you view the writers work with a lens you didn’t know you had. This article’s structure has arguments that create a pathway for the readers to approach the content. Lastly, both psychology professors Christopher F. Chabris and Daniel J. Simmons did a tremendous job at applying these methods of analysis. The top three Editors’ Picks comments contributed a significant outlook on what the readers were able to take from it. One of the top comments went into greater detail on Chabris and Simmons article by sharing their own personal opinions by saying, “negative experience to active malice instead of an honest mistake. However, it’s far more often a mistake.” The comment section is a great way for other readers to participate in an intellectual debate on the topic. Logos and Ethos were seen the most, as many comments provide evidence to their claims. I like the way the New York Times ranked comment section, especially have Dr. Neil Tyson with the top comment since he is mentioned in the article. Although, this can also be a negative aspect because the more conventional will be shown at the top.

Hi Keenan, Overall good writing and good analysis. I enjoyed reading your post. Take note of your thesis statement and review the lessons on writing thesis. Good work though !


Rhetorical Analysis

Angelica Blanco / Team 19

Thesis: The article “Why Our Memory Fails Us” by Christopher Chabris and Daniel Simons bases on ethical, logical, and emotional reasons towards how our memories deceive us. (thesis statement good use some improvement “…deceive us by ………….” Then prove that.

In order to provide evidence for their article, the authors include a quick anecdote on Neil Degrass Tyson and his thoughts towards comments that he believed president George Bush made. Although a credible man, Tyson became was accused of being a liar (or just ‘of lying’ after his memory of the president’s comments were proven wrong due to bias thinking. By using this anecdote the authors are trying to persuade the readers to understand that even if we fully rely on our memories, whether we believe them to be true, we risk falling into memory misrepresentation. It is with this example that Chabris and Simons prove their point with the use of pathos and ethos. (good)

Tysons bias mentality, reliability on his memory, and emotions represent pathos. (I don’t quite understand this first sentence?) His credibility even after being called a liar is a representation of ethos.

  Chabris and Simons go on to include real life scenarios using George Bush’s memory of the events that took place on  9/11 and Hillary Clinton’s memory of her trip to Bosnia where she said she said she had to run from her plane due to being under snipper fire.  Both Bush and Clinton fall victim to memory failure and as a result, cause skepticism throughout the nation. Although both are reliable and credible, both were seen as liars the same way Tyson was taken as one. The real situation Chabris and Simons are trying to shine light on is memory failure. If it’s not a lie, both Bush and Clinton trusted their memories when asked about 9/11 and Bosnia and commented on what they believed to be true. Although these events are real life scenarios, both Bush and Clinton who were once viewed as a reliable source, became the focus of conspiracy theories. Pathos plays a role in these scenarios as an example of Bush and Clinton being unsure of their own memory and acting on a more emotional standpoint under the pressure of the events that took place. As a voice of authority, president Bush would fall under logos as well.

 The authors were quick to mention the involvement of the National Academy of Sciences with ways to minimize memory failure and misidentification. Also another example of Ethos. When mentioning psychologists Henry L Roediger III and Andrew Desoto Roediger, the authors were quickly able to point out facts and case studies both psychologists had previously taken part in. A great example of logos being used to express real facts, logical reasoning, and studies. 

In my opinion, the comments have all three rhetorical ideas. Some comments question Bush’s intelligence and others give credibility to Tyson despite his memory misrepresentation. NYT picks comments are a lot more critical than the comments on the top three readers picks which are more of an opinionated base. The arguments being made are by reliable sources and experts. By reading the comments one can relate it to the ethos rhetorical view. 

Overall good work Angelica. Your post is well-written. Always be as concise as possible and remove any unnecessary words or try to condense sentences whenever possible.

Assignment 1 – Leandro Moreyra – Team 19

Thesis: New York Times authors Christopher Chabris, Daniel Simons, and Virginia Heffernan use ethos, pathos, and logos in their articles to present their arguments to the readers. (Not a thesis!) (please review what a thesis statement must do)

In their analysis on why our memories are so unreliable, Chabris and Simons use logos and ethos to compel the reader by referencing statements from renowned astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson as well as scientific studies into the accuracy of our memories. (good!)  By Referencing a paper by two cognitive psychologists as well as experiments on the subject, Chabris and Simons are using logos to present evidence on scientific studies that lend credence to their argument. The two instances shown where memory failure has occurred to Neil DeGrasse Tyson serve as further logical proof (logos) that if this problem can happen to a man renowned for his scientific knowledge, then it can happen to anyone. (good!)

Furthermore, the fact that these studies were performed by scientists who study the mind by dealing only with facts and evidence assures the reader that the results must be accurate and credible – thus, ethos. When Charis sp! and Simons bring up false convictions and contradictory testimony, they demonstrate that we have proof from a reputable source – that being our own courts of law – that our memory can be affected by our confidence in said memories. They write “we then rely on confidence as a signal of accuracy — in ourselves and in others.,” throwing another touch of logos into their argument that makes the reader question the validity of their own memories.

Virginia Heffernan, on the other hand, engages the reader using logos and more pathos than ethos. Heffernan points out how many of Applebaum’s readers prefer to simply insult her and her writing in the comments, rather than proposing a rational critique on the subject matter. Nobody likes to be insulted and by quoting posters calling Applebaum “a lapsed neo-con addict” or a “liberal fool” – posters Respondus and jbburrows respectively – Heffernan puts the reader in Applebaum’s shoes as the person who writes a logical analysis and gets ridiculed for it rather than argued against.

Heffernan uses logos to support her claim that “online commentary,…, is a circadian art.” Heffernan notes that most columns appear late at night and the tone of the comments as well as their content change depending what time in the work day they were posted . Here, Heffernan has presented a repeating occurrence to justify her argument.

The top three comments to the article by Chabris and Simons each lean greater to ethos, pathos, or logos that the other. Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s post provides links to other posts where he further analyses the problem logically – demonstrating logos. Keith Dow, however, chooses to attack the credibility and ethos of former president Bush by posting some of his quotes that make him seem less intelligent than we expect for someone of such authority. Finally, Jacob Sommer, uses logos by presenting a counter-example in Marilu Henner and rational arguments such as “It’s relatively common for people to attribute a negative experience to active malice instead of honest mistake.” The Times does well to list these comments based on how many people recommend them, but this method is flawed in that many might agree with a comment that strays from the article’s argument (such as with Keith Dow). This method lacks a means to ensure that the top comments are about the argument and not just nitpicking over something else that was part of the article.

Hi Leandro, You make some very good points and your writing style is quite good as well.  Nice word choice, good analysis, keep up the good work!