Read the full article at MarketWatch.

It turns out our brains know more about human behavior than we do.

Using brain scans of just 30 people, researchers were able to forecast how hundreds of consumers would choose to spend their money — and the findings have implications for marketers.

Researchers at the University of Michigan, Stanford University and the Rotterdam School of Management found that neurons firing in the brain’s “reward center” predicted widespread consumer behavior more accurately than interviews with consumers about their preferences.

The study looked at crowdfunded documentary films, but researchers’ method of peeking inside people’s brains could be useful for companies selling products, said study co-author Carolyn Yoon, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan business school.

“We found that a particular area of the brain, the nucleus accumbens, actually predicted which projects would get funded in the future,” Yoon said. “It actually ends up predicting what other people out there in the world will do.”

In other words, this small group was able to predict whether a product would appeal to the general public. The brain activity of the participants predicted what the general population thought were the most fund-worthy films.