I recently saw this article about Merel Bekking, a product designer, who has teamed up with neuroscientists and an MRI scanner. She will show subjects a series of images and review their brain scans to see what design elements they prefer. Finally, Bekking will combine these elements into, what she hopes, will be the perfect design.

“As a designer, you have to make a series of decisions,” Bekking says. “And the three most important ones are shape, color, and material.”

The response of these scans? Her subjects preferred the color red, plastic material, and shapes that were closed and organic looking. She says, interestingly, “It is surprising to see that the individuals gave different answers on paper than what the scans showed.”

Effectively, these objects will be “coded” by Bekking to be perfect for the subjects. I find it fascinating that they give different answers than what their brain scans say they prefer- that we may not have a conscious grasp on our aesthetic preferences.