Recent psychophysical evidence indicates that the vertical arrangement of horizontal information is particularly important for encoding facial identity. In this paper we extend this notion to examine the role that information at different (particularly cardinal) orientations might play in a number of established phenomena each a behavioral "signature" of face processing. In particular we consider (a) the face inversion effect (FIE), (b) the facial identity after-effect, (c) face-matching across viewpoint, and (d) interactive, so-called holistic, processing of face parts. We report that filtering faces to remove all but the horizontal information largely preserves these effects but conversely, retaining vertical information generally diminishes or abolishes them. We conclude that preferential processing of horizontal information is a central feature of human face processing that supports many of the behavioral signatures of this critical visual operation.