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How the brain distills a representation of meaningful objects from retinal input is one of the central challenges of systems neuroscience. Functional imaging experiments in the macaque reveal that one ecologically important class of objects, faces, is represented by a system of six discrete, strongly interconnected regions. Electrophysiological recordings show that these 'face patches' have unique functional profiles. By studying the distinct visual representations maintained in these six face patches, the sequence of information flow between them, and the role each plays in face perception, we are gaining new insights into hierarchical information processing in the brain.

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