Media and marketing experts have long sought a reliable method of forecasting responses from the general population to future products and messages. According to a study conducted at the Neural Engineering group The City College of New York, it appears that the brain responses of just a few individuals are a remarkably strong predictor.

By analyzing the brainwaves of 16 individuals as they watched mainstream television content, researchers led by Prof. Lucas Parra were able to accurately predict the preferences of large TV audiences, up to 90 % in the case of Super Bowl commercials. The findings appear in a paper entitled, “Audience Preferences Are Predicted by Temporal Reliability of Neural Processing,” published July 29, 2014, in “Nature Communications.”

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