Many variables have been assumed to reflect speed of processing, and most are strongly related to age in the period of adulthood. One of the primary theoretical questions with respect to aging and speed concerns the relative roles of specific and general age-related effects on particular speed variables. Distinguishing between specific (or unique) and general (or shared) age-related influences on measures of speed has been complicated, in part because the issues are sometimes framed in terms of extreme all-or-none positions, and because few researchers have employed analytical procedures suitable for estimating the relative contributions of each type of influence. However, recent methods focusing on partitioning age-related variance have indicated that large proportions of the age-related effects on individual speed variables are shared with age-related effects on other variables. Although these theoretical ideas and analytical procedures are fairly new, they may be relevant to a variety of psychophysiological or neurobiological variables.