Input specificity of activity-induced synaptic modification was examined in the developing Xenopus retinotectal connections. Early in development, long-term potentiation (LTP) induced by theta burst stimulation (TBS) at one retinal input spreads to other unstimulated converging inputs on the same tectal neuron. As the animal develops, LTP induced by the same TBS becomes input specific, a change that correlates with the increased complexity of tectal dendrites and more restricted distribution of dendritic Ca(2+) evoked by each retinal input. In contrast, LTP induced by 1 Hz correlated pre- and postsynaptic spiking is input specific throughout the same developmental period. Thus, input specificity of LTP emerges with neural development and depends on the pattern of synaptic activity.