Introduction...A major unanswered question concerning the basis for the attractiveness effect in infants is tied to the larger discussion of whether judgments of facial beauty reflect an adaptation for mate choice or are simply a by-product of general information processing mechanisms...
...In conclusion, the finding that infants will display an attractiveness preference for nonhuman animals suggests that the attractiveness preference that infants display for human faces reflects the activity of general processing mechanisms that are innately prespecified but subject to modifications due to experience. The findings imply further that the search for whatever mechanisms guide infant and adult visual systems toward attractive faces needs to consider the attributes that can be encoded from both human and nonhuman animal faces.
I just skimmed that study quickly. Not sure if I read it right. I think I bolded the intro/conclusion correctly but feel free to double check me on that.
I've never looked at this before but I think it basically says that infants are innately hardwired for face recognition. Which makes sense, otherwise it might confuse the family pet for its mother. So if you show them a Picasso or a symmetrical face or a one eyed beast, they're gonna concentrate more on the symmetrical face which we perceive as beauty. I think that's what this means, but I'm not certain.
Nor do I find it that important. People find different things attractive. An ageist might be turned off by a good looking older guy yet go after some big bellied, younger guy with an off-centered cubist face.
There's no accounting for taste.