Plasticity-inducing stimuli must typically be presented many times before synaptic plasticity is expressed, perhaps because induction signals gradually accumulate before overt strength changes occur. We consider memory dynamics in a mathematical model with synapses that integrate plasticity induction signals before expressing plasticity. We find that the memory trace initially rises before reaching a maximum and then falling. The memory signal dissociates into separate oblivescence and reminiscence components, with reminiscence initially dominating recall. In radical contrast, related but nonintegrative models exhibit only a highly problematic oblivescence. Synaptic integration mechanisms possess natural timescales, depending on the statistics of the induction signals. Together with neuromodulation, these timescales may therefore also begin to provide a natural account of the well-known spacing effect in the transition to late-phase plasticity. Finally, we propose experiments that could distinguish between integrative and nonintegrative synapses. Such experiments should further elucidate the synaptic signal processing mechanisms postulated by our model.

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