In which direction is the bus pictured below traveling?
Look carefully at the picture.
Do you know the answer?
The only possible answers are “left” or “right.”
Think about it
Still don’t know?
Keep reading for the answer and explanation…
When pre-school children were shown this picture and question, they all answered “left.” When asked why, they answered “Because you can’t see the door.” Feel pretty dumb now, don’t you? I did too!
But this teaser illustrates a good concept to remember whenever you start thinking your memory is terrible. While most of us think our memories are pretty lousy, imagine if our memories were absolutely perfect. 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 head, and only the ones going left would match.
On the other hand, imagine having eidetic, or photographic, memory and remembering every single detail of every single day of your life. It would be insurmountable to filter through all that data retrieve useful information. (In real life, there have been very few people with eidetic memory, and some people speculate if there is such a thing at all.) So, your mind remembers things that it pays attention to because they are deemed important. Think of emotion-laden memories. With good or bad experiences- the memories are detail rich. Therefore, if you need to remember more – either do things that are more meaningful to you or find a way to ascribe meaning to what you’re trying to remember.
For further reading on attention and memory in a broader context, read Wall Street Journal science columnist Sharon Begley’s new book: Train Your Mind, Change Your Brain: How a New Science Reveals Our Extraordinary Potential to Transform Ourselves.