In which direction is the bus pictured below traveling?
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 in the US 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 (and also our cognitive flexibility). 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…
Other brain teasers for kids and adults in SharpBrains’ top 25 series:
PS: Enjoy these 50 brain teasers and games to test your cognitive ability. Free, and fun for children and adults of any age!