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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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88 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”.

  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

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