The text below is taken from the book: Blink by Malcolm Gladwell – Enjoy
For example, at the Columbia session, I paid particular attention to a young woman with pale skin and blond, curly hair and a tall, energetic man with green eyes and long brown hair. I don’t know their names, but let’s call them Mary and John. I watched them for the duration of their date, and it was immediately clear that Mary really liked John and John really liked Mary. John sat down at Mary’s table. Their eyes locked. She looked down shyly. She seemed a little nervous. She leaned forward in her chair. It seemed, from the outside, like a perfectly straightforward case of instant attraction. But let’s dig below the surface and ask a few simple questions. First of all, did Mary’s assessment of John’s personality match the personality that she said she wanted in a man before the evening started? In other words, how good is Mary at predicting what she likes in a man? Fisman and Iyengar can answer that question really easily, and what they find when they compare what speed-daters say they want with what they are actually attracted to in the moment is that those two things don’t match. For example, if Mary said at the start of the evening that she wanted someone intelligent and sincere, that in no way means she’ll be attracted only to intelligent and sincere men. It’s just as likely that John, whom she likes more than anyone else, could turn out to be attractive and funny but not particularly sincere or smart at all.
Second, if all the men Mary ends up liking during the speed-dating are more attractive and funny than they are smart and sincere, on the next day, when she’s asked to describe her perfect man, Mary will say that she likes attractive and funny men. But that’s just the next day. If you ask her again a month later, she’ll be back to saying that she wants intelligent and sincere.