I understand that levels in the sensorimotor hierarchy of the brain learn recurring features of their input streams. The results are activation patterns with single neurons firing for the existence of specific higher level patterns. Those sparse representations are passed upward to the next higher layer.
For example, there is a neuron firing whenever there is a face in the scene. On this higher level, neurons are not restricted to a small window of our field of view anymore. My question is how those high level sparse representations still retain information about positions and counts of objects.
One bad explanation would be that there are neurons representing counts in general. If "three" and "face" are both active, there are three faces in the scene. But this doesn't hold for two kinds of objects at the same time since it's not clear which count is for which object. And what if both have the same count.