Memory and its Let Down

Memory can be rather tricky, just like the telephone reference from the article, with time it can be misconstrued. When we replay a memory, our current surroundings, previous conversations and different idea could have altered the memory. As stated in the article by Chabris and Simons, one cannot remember the exactness of the memory and reiterate it later on as it occurred. Any event, conversation or idea can throw the memory off. For example when Hillary Clinton stated that she welcomed under sniper fire in Bosnia but was actually welcomed by children. The surrounding event could have led her to alter the memory and remember it as that. Or, taking into account the example of eye witness testimony, over time what the person claims he/she saw might have changed slightly over time, which is why the first statement is the most important.

In reality, as expressed by the article, we can unknowingly alter our memories. The brain is very powerful and we can trick ourselves into creating memories and even distorting them.

As authors throughout this article, Chabris and Simons emphasize their points with facts studies, examples, dates, statistics and names of important people. Their point is to inform the reader and elaborate why we should rely less on memory and more on actual facts and how our memory actually does fail us. Examples such as Niel Degrasse Tyson and George W. Bush; the film Roshoman and the TV series The Affair; witness recollections; the study of psychologists Henry L. Roediger III and K. Andrew DeSoto; the telephone experiment; as well as others serve as strong arguments as to why we shouldn’t just rely on our memory. The logos appeal to persuasion actual left me thinking how my memory is not as good as I initially thought. When I think of a memory, I believe it to be exactly as it happened. However, after reading the article I know believe I, myself, may have altered my memories.

Thus, after analyzing and reading through the article, the comment section verified some of my thoughts, making me feel like I was not the only one thinking a certain way. The top three picks summarized how Neil Degrasse Tyson has flawed memories, George W.Bush did not have the best track record for being an intelligent man and lastly, the belief that memory can be unintentionally altered without actual malice.

The top three comments dug a little deeper into the previous scenarios of the main example; Neil Degrasse Tyson and George W. Bush. The other comment emphasized that flawed memory isn’t, and one likes to believe, is on purpose.

However, when you compare the top three readers picks with the top three New York Times picks, they do differentiate. Based on my observation, the New York Times picked comments that directed their writing to the article as whole. While the Reader’s Picks focused on specific points each commentator felt strongly about.

The ranking of the comments is effective in the sense that the reader can expand their train of thought with other reader’s opinions. Is it effective? In my opinion, no. Regardless of picks, I will choose to read what stands out to me. Also, if I feel an article can be clarified or other opinions will benefit my understanding, then yes. If not then I won’t think twice about comment sections


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