Sharp Brains: Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News

Neuroplasticity, Brain Fitness and Cognitive Health News


#12. Challenge your brain with this visual logic brain teaser

In which direc­tion is the bus pic­tured below trav­el­ing?

school bus attention game

Do you know the answer?

The only pos­si­ble answers are “left” or “right.”

Still don’t know?

Keep read­ing for the answer and expla­na­tion…

When pre-school chil­dren are shown this brain teas­er, they often answer “left.” Why? “Because you can’t see the door.”

(This works in coun­tries where you dri­ve on the right side of the road, like the US and con­ti­nen­tal Europe; it would be the reverse in coun­tries where you dri­ve on the left side, such as the UK)

Feel pret­ty dumb now, don’t you? I did too!

This teas­er illus­trates a good con­cept about how our mem­o­ry works. Imag­ine if our mem­o­ries were absolute­ly per­fect. On the one hand, you might have been able to answer this puz­zle cor­rect­ly, since you could com­pare this image to all the school bus images you have in your mind, and only the ones going left would match.

On the oth­er hand, imag­ine tru­ly remem­ber­ing every sin­gle detail of every sin­gle day of your life. It would be insur­mount­able to fil­ter through all that data retrieve use­ful information…you prob­a­bly would­n’t have been able to answer the ques­tion in hours or even days, try­ing to retrieve and process every sin­gle bus-relat­ed mem­o­ry.

Think about that next time you com­plain about your mem­o­ry…

Next brain teas­er in Sharp­Brains’ top 25 series:


PS: Enjoy these 50 brain teasers to test your cog­ni­tive abil­i­ty. Free, and fun for adults of any age!


Leave a Reply...

Loading Facebook Comments ...

72 Responses

  1. chance says:

    This ques­tion is like anoth­er one i have heard. How do you put a ele­phant into a refrig­er­a­tor?
    Then how do you put a giraffe into a refrig­er­a­tor?
    The first time i heard it i said you would have to grind both of the ani­mals to put them in, but the preschool­er would answer the first part “you open the door and put in the ele­phant” for the sec­ond part they would answer by say­ing “you open the door take out the ele­phant and put the giraffe in”.

    • John says:

      And then it goes on with anoth­er ques­tion:
      “The Lion king sum­moned all the ani­mals to a meet­ing in the jun­gle. All came but one. Who?!”

      And Anoth­er one:
      “A group of peo­ple are stuck in the jun­gle. They have to cross a riv­er filled with croc­o­diles. They have no boat, no equip­ment to make one and there’s no way around. How can they man­age with­out being eat­en?”

      Answers below:
      The Giraffe did not attend the meet­ing — It is stuck in the fridge.
      They swim.
      But what about the croc­o­diles?.…
      They are at the meet­ing..

  2. Theofanis says:

    It depends on what type of bus is it… If the steer­ing wheel is on the left side of the bus, then the bus is going left. If the steer­ing wheel is on the right side of the bus then the bus is going right. 🙂

  3. catiana271 says:

    I thought left the first time.…..

  4. Coach B says:

    If this puz­zle was shown to pre-school­ers who attend school in Japan, their answers might be just the oppo­site. Why? Because we dri­ve on the oth­er side of the road over here. Thus the door would be locat­ed on the oppo­site side of the bus. these are Amer­i­can kids whose par­ents are in the U.S. Mil­i­tary sta­tioned in Japan.

  5. sudhi says:

    by nt going to unnec­es­sary views.….…. its a very good brain teas­er.….……

  6. sudhi says:

    at the same time… if door is the mat­ter… doors wil be on both sides of the bus.….. in our coun­try.…. on one side pas­sen­gers door… and oth­er side dri­vers door.…..

  7. John says:

    The answer is 19, because 5 + 3 + 3 + 8 = 19. And YES… this is a com­ment about the bus. How­ev­er, if you are not in a coun­try where the dri­ver is on the left side, then the answer is 27. Again, my com­ment is a teas­er with­in a teas­er. Go fig­ure… let me know. 🙂

  8. Kristina says:

    I must real­ly have men­tal prob­lems because when I first saw the draw­ing, I thought “Oh, it’s an Airstream car­a­van.” 🙂 I do have a ques­tion — if this is a bus, where is the motor? Front or back (if one can deter­mine which is the front and the back).

  9. tania says:

    no, i dont feel dumb and it does­nt mean those kids are intel­li­gent either. “you cant see the door”? wow, you cant see the dri­ver or the indi­ca­tor or the wind­shield or a whole lot of clues that would of helped us find the answer. and also dri­ver sides change in coun­tries and yes the net is inter­na­tion­al so who ever drew the pic­ture should get their facts right first!!!

  10. casisinus says:

    I think THIS bus could go either way…one must only work his imag­i­na­tion

  11. Deloris says:

    Odd­ly enough, I guessed “left” not because I did­n’t see a door but because I pic­tured the bus low­er in the front toward the left. Real­ly! I saw the front with low sus­pen­sion so it must be fac­ing the left. Why did I see front low sus­pen­sion, I don’t know. After I read the thing about the door, I was like, “Oh, I got it right any­way.” LOL

  12. aisha says:

    that is cool

  13. Jesse says:

    The bus a preschool­er sees every day would have a STOP sign, flash­ing red lights and all, on the street side (as opposed to the curb side) of the bus.

    It’s still ambigu­ous.

  14. Paolo says:

    Many of the pre­vi­ous answers com­plete­ly miss the mean­ing of the test, i.e. that to deter­mine which way the bus is trav­el­ing (the test says that this is a bus in move­ment, so it’s a bus in move­ment) you must SEE that there is not a may­or detail: the door.
    Obvi­ous­ly the image is high­ly stilized: if there were the steer­ing wheel or the exahust pipe or the lights then there were no test.
    The actu­al direc­tion is not real­ly impor­tant: depends on the nation you are, but still you must think to the door. And if preschool­er can give the cor­rect answer is also not impor­tant: can YOU give it?

  15. megan says:

    this illus­tra­tion can go either left or right because there’s no sig­nal direct­ing which was it is cor­rect­ly going.

  16. london says:

    im from the uk where cars dri­ve on the left and i said right.

  17. Miamia says:

    Well, we sit on left side and our card dri­ve on left side od the road.
    When I looked at this bus, it was dri­ving at left! You have to imag­ine this and you will also see the door.

  18. Miamia says:

    My mis­take. We sit on left side in car, and car dri­ves on right side of the road!

  19. ian says:

    ooops too bad bus can go in reverse

  20. Abhishek says:

    Hi think the­o­fa­nis is right. Yo! man right log­ic

  21. jaya says:

    bus is not attached to wheels

Leave a Reply

Categories: Brain Teasers

Tags: , , , , , ,

About SharpBrains

As seen in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, BBC News, CNN, Reuters,  SharpBrains is an independent market research firm tracking how brain science can improve our health and our lives.

Search in our archives

Follow us and Engage via…

RSS Feed

Watch All Recordings Now (40+ Speakers, 12+ Hours)