Faces are an important and unique class of visual stimuli, and have been of interest to neuroscientists for many years. Faces are known to elicit certain characteristic behavioral markers, collectively labeled “holistic processing”, while non-face objects are not processed holistically. However, little is known about the underlying neural mechanisms. The main aim of this computational simulation work is to investigate the neural mechanisms that make face processing holistic. Using a model of primate visual processing, we show that a single key factor, “neural tuning size”, is able to account for three important markers of holistic face processing: the Composite Face Effect (CFE), Face Inversion Effect (FIE) and Whole-Part Effect (WPE). Our proof-of-principle specifies the precise neurophysiological property that corresponds to the poorly-understood notion of holism, and shows that this one neural property controls three classic behavioral markers of holism. Our work is consistent with neurophysiological evidence, and makes further testable predictions. Overall, we provide a parsimonious account of holistic face processing, connecting computation, behavior and neurophysiology.