Imagine a world in which tiny cameras in your smartphone or laptop spy on your facial expressions, letting website designers know, moment by moment, where they are hitting—or missing—the mark. Where retailers track the brainwaves of shoppers, using the data to craft more alluring aisles. Where advertisers monitor the eye movements and sweat rates of viewers to help them select which commercial to air in that coveted Super Bowl spot.

No need to imagine.

In the brave (and arguably creepy ) world of neuromarketing, each of these scenarios is already playing out in real life. Armed with high-tech biometric and neurological tools and a blossoming body of research on how purchasing decisions are subconsciously made, more companies—from food giants Cargill and Frito-Lay to market research leaders Symphony IRI and Nielsen—are mining deep into the minds of potential consumers.

"There is absolutely no doubt that a major part of our decision-making process is subconscious; but until recently, our brains were like a black box," says Roger Dooley, a marketing consultant and founder of the blog neurosciencemarketing.com. "With the strides in neuroscience in the last 10 years, we now have the tools to see what is going on inside. It is going to transform the field of market research."

Although not many companies within the natural, organic and healthy products market are yet embracing neuromarketing tools, this could change soon, as marketers strive to better understand what really drives consumer shopping preferences and behaviors.