Long-term modification of synaptic efficacy can depend on the timing of pre- and postsynaptic action potentials. In model studies, such spike timing-dependent plasticity (STDP) introduces the desirable features of competition among synapses and regulation of postsynaptic firing characteristics. STDP strengthens synapses that receive correlated input, which can lead to the formation of stimulus-selective columns and the development, refinement, and maintenance of selectivity maps in network models. The temporal asymmetry of STDP suppresses strong destabilizing self-excitatory loops and allows a group of neurons that become selective early in development to direct other neurons to become similarly selective. STDP, acting alone without further hypothetical global constraints or additional forms of plasticity, can also reproduce the remapping seen in adult cortex following afferent lesions.