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#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!


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72 Responses

  1. Alvaro says:

    Lee: Thanks 🙂

  2. ibrahim says:

    I can see that the bus is not trav­el­ing now!

  3. Louise says:

    Left or right? It will depend on what coun­try you are from. Even to a bli­ind per­son ( I am) here is no wind­shield so it pos­si­bi­ly could be a trailor.

  4. nosebleed says:

    i thought it was com­ing straight at me

  5. mahindra says:

    i had nev­er seen a bus
    with three win­dows in my life!

  6. Alvaro says:

    Mahin­dra: remem­ber, nov­el­ty is good for the brain 🙂

  7. Richard says:

    I’ve been look­ing at the bus for a long time now and it is not mov­ing at all.

  8. fluffychenille says:

    I say.…..“everybody OFF the bus!”

  9. steve says:

    The bus could be back­ing up or from Eng­land. Then the giv­en answer would be incor­rect. The ques­tion should state that the bus is mov­ing for­ward in the U.S.

  10. Brandi says:

    Based on the sim­plic­i­ty of the draw­ing, I answered “straight towards me.” The wheels look like head­lights and the part with the win­dows looks like the top of the bus. Can you see it?

  11. Peter says:

    Fools! It is falling, because there is no ground under it!
    Hows that for log­ic?

  12. BoggyWoggy says:

    I tried this with sev­er­al preschool­ers, too. Guess what? Pre-school kids DON’T RIDE ON A BUS! Your log­ic is skewed, sim­ply because only inner-city and met­ro­pol­i­tan chil­dren can relate, since they use busses. Here in our town, chil­dren’s par­ents dri­ve them to pre-school…and all over, for that mat­ter. Ugh. Just like the oth­er intel­li­gence tests, this one is cute, but not valid.

  13. Mark says:

    That bus looks so sim­ple in that it is basi­cal­ly a box on wheels I would­n’t even have assumed it would have a door. If it was a pho­to­graph had more detail I think the respons­es but be dif­fer­ent.…

  14. paul says:

    Anoth­er fine exam­ple of amer­i­cans think­ing that they are the only coun­try in the world.

  15. Jane says:

    From here we can see how com­pli­cat­ed being an adult here, our mind just think too much. Though it just a very sim­ple solu­tion some­times our mind just make the sit­u­a­tion worst. Do you agree?

  16. Derek says:

    Could the bus not be trav­el­ing in reverse?

  17. Raul says:

    Paul, anoth­er fine exam­ple of a Brit hav­ing a reflex and blam­ing Amer­i­cans. Frankly, 72% of the world’s road­ways are right dri­ving ori­ent­ed. Left hand­ed dri­ving remains a quaint fea­ture of Britain and a hand­ful of their for­mer colonies.

  18. Alvaro says:

    Wow, what a run­ning debate, per­haps more (or less) stim­u­lat­ing than the puz­zle itself.

    I am sur­prised no one has yet chal­lenged whether a bus could real­ly fit into the size of your com­put­er screen, or how come a bus does­n’t have an exhaust.

    Fur­ther, the puz­zle lacks cred­i­bil­i­ty since there is no BIG lat­er­al ad. And where is the road? per­haps the bus is mov­ing at the bot­tom of the ocean?

    Or is it a new top-secret non-manned vehi­cle to trav­el to Mars, devised by the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary in such an inno­cent man­ner not to raise extrater­res­tri­al sus­pi­cions?

    In any case, this is being pret­ty good brain exer­cise, either try­ing to solve the puz­zle or to find a cre­ative objec­tion. So, let me ask…what are oth­er cre­ative objec­tions you can find to the puz­zle itself? please don’t repeat any­thing that has been already said…

    There is a MAJOR PRIZE for the most cre­ative response… 10 bus­es like that one, sent (at our expense) to your favorite email address!

  19. Rhiannon says:

    Uh, well unlike every­one else (appar­ent­ly) I did­n’t find fault in the teas­er. It’s quite obvi­ous­ly open to inter­pre­ta­tion. After look­ing at the — yes, high­ly sim­pli­fied — pic­ture of the bus, I noticed that the only things shown were win­dows, so the wind­shield should be pic­tured. But since it’s not seen, I assumed the bus was mov­ing RIGHT and the wind­shield was on the oppo­site side. (Yes, because I’m an Amer­i­can, and dri­ve on the right side of the road and sit in the left side of the car.)

  20. todios says:

    Even though my last post was whisked away, I would like to reit­er­ate that this draw­ing looks like a UFO, and could, there­fore, be mov­ing in any direc­tion.

  21. peretz says:

    to me it looks like i’m look­ing at the front of the bus with three square head­ed indi­vid­u­als in the wind­shield and round head­lights … or the back with TV screens for the pas­sen­gers’ enter­tain­ment, or again, three square head­ed pas­sen­gers in the back seat.

  22. Aaron says:

    Wow! I did­n’t even think of think­ing about the door lol. The pic­ture seems so sim­ple I just assumed you missed the door, but real­ly the draw­ing was per­fect, it makes sense it’s going left.

  23. Xevi says:

    Bus is mov­ing to left. At right, there’s my home­’s win­dow: very dan­ger­ous to get this way!


  24. Paul says:

    I thought it was mov­ing towards Den­ver.

  25. Alvaro says:

    Paul: final­ly some­one got the right answer. It was Den­ver 🙂

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