This Bus Puzzle Is Easy For Kids, Challenging For Adults. What's The Answer?

Here’s an interesting and simple, yet for many, challenging, puzzle brought to us by the folks over at National Geographic. This image was shown to many adults, and many children, and it turns out the kids had a much easier time solving it than the adults. What’s the big difference? Well, it has to do with how kids think. We adults tend to overcomplicate things and look for answers that might not actually be there.

Before we tell you what the answer is, we want you to take a good long look at the image yourself and see if you can tell us. The bus is identical on both ends, and there is nothing in the design of the art to suggest which direction it’s actually traveling, like “speed lines” or maybe a drivetrain or what have you.

So, looking at this, can you figure it out? It might be harder than you think. Or maybe you’re as clever as a child is.

Need a hint? Well, we can tell you that what makes this so easy for children is how they utilize visual cues and their own experiences to figure things out. Adults often don’t take the bus so they don’t necessarily see what kids are seeing. And even if they do, they’re probably still looking for a hint of a bus driver in the window, or maybe even something in the sky to denote air flow or something.


Try again. We promise, the answer is definitely there, even if it might not seem like it:

Still don’t have it? We’ll give you one more hint. Kids are better at using visual cues to figure out what’s missing from an image. What could be missing from this image, that might tell you a little about the direction this bus is moving?

One more try, okay? We’re giving you the answer right after this, so no peeking!

Figure it out?


The door is missing! That means, at least in America, that the bus is heading toward the left of the image. Kids only need seconds to realize the door isn’t in the picture, whereas it can be almost impossible for adults to notice this simple fact. Most buses only have doors that open curbside. This same test works just as well in right-hand driving countries; the results are just reversed. So in England, the bus would be traveling toward the right of the image, for example. That’s another great thing about this test, it’s fairly universal and works just about anywhere. Except maybe in an Amish schoolhouse. But even then we’d bet that kids would get it right more often than adults.

Did you get it? I know I was fooled. I stared and stared and felt pretty dumb when I learned the answer. But it’s not an intelligence test. It’s simply a way to judge your ability to use visual cues. Kids are a little better at this because they’re constantly learning and being taught to think creatively. And their brains are a little more flexible. They also know buses better because even if they don’t ride one to school, they see them every day, and take them on field trips. They’re also learning how to be safe around vehicles like buses and cars, so knowing a bit about them is important information to have in their young lives.

It’s a lesson that even as we grow and learn, and become experts on various subjects, there are still plenty of lessons we can learn in life. There are even lessons, obviously, we can learn from children. Lessons like this one, but also many more.

Via: National Geographic

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