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Hot air balloon flights and memory

17th July 2018 Mark Hot Air Balloon Rides

A hot air balloon flight over Bath is an exhilarating experience that is unlikely to be forgotten. Seeing the famous landmarks of Bath from the air, the Roman Baths, the Abbey and Pulteney Bridge makes for memories you will want to cherish.

Photo memories

On your flight, you can take photos, or you can purchase a professionally taken one by your pilot. Many people put a photograph of their flight in a frame displayed in their home to remind them of the experience.

False memories

In 2002, an experiment by Kimberley Wade at the University of Warwick showed people a photograph of themselves as a child in a hot air balloon basket. This was shown as “evidence” that they had been on a hot air balloon flight. The photos had been doctored in computer graphic software. The researchers had obtained a childhood picture of the experiment’s subjects, and the software cut out their childhood picture and placed it inside the image of a hot air balloon.

About half of the participants in the experiment, on being shown the photographic evidence, said that they remembered the flight, even though in reality they had never been on a hot air balloon. The experiment was used to demonstrate the fallibility of memory and how false memories can be created. The finding of the experiment has even had implications on some legal cases.

If you take your children on a hot air balloon ride over Bath, and years later show them the photograph taken on the occasions, they will probably remember the flight. However, this experiment shows that they can never be 100% certain that the memory is true.

Selective memory

Researchers have looked at the way memory is selective. People who have gone on a hot air balloon flight usually regard the experience as being one when they felt very happy, but on the flight, there may have been times when they experienced a degree of nervousness, even though ballooning is extremely safe. As the balloon took off there may have been some fear of rising high in the air. As the balloon descended there could be the fear of not landing safely. If an experience was on the whole positive, there is a tendency of the mind to edit out the negative bits, so that the whole hot air balloon experience is seen as positive. The second time they fly, they will likely do so without any trepidation, thus enjoying the experience from start to finish.

After you climb out of the basket at the end of the flight, most people feel happy and excited. This is partly because of the memory of seeing Bath and the surrounding countryside in a spectacular way, but can also be because they can say they have been on a flight.

For the best way to rekindle the positive memories of a hot air balloon ride, book another flight over Bath. Why rely on memories when you can repeat the experience?

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