What are some of the contrasts between old and new psychology, and what of the old psychology has remained?

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Old Psychology was seemingly pioneered by Freud and Freud alone (in reality, there were many contributors, but Freud is far and away the most prominent). Between himself, Jung, and others, they championed the early ideas of psychology and created psychoanalysis. They also began probing the ideas of mental illness and...

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Old Psychology was seemingly pioneered by Freud and Freud alone (in reality, there were many contributors, but Freud is far and away the most prominent). Between himself, Jung, and others, they championed the early ideas of psychology and created psychoanalysis. They also began probing the ideas of mental illness and the workings of the brain.

New psychology began to develop when many more scientific tests were performed. Prior to the 1950s, most of the work in psychology was theoretical, consisting of psychoanalysis and the analyst's interpretation of what it meant for the workings of the mind. Since then, however, scientific research has been implemented to begin to truly probe the psyche, such as using MRIs, studying the effects of medication on mental illnesses and mood behaviors, and much more.

The division between these two eras occurred after many ethical issues arose from incidents such as the Stanford Prison experiment and the Milgram experiment, where the scientific study of the psyche began to have dangerous consequences. New psychology truly began to burgeon when principles and methodologies were put in place to safely and scientifically conduct psychological studies.

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The American Psychological Association's Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct (Ethics Code) was first published in 1953 as psychologists began taking on more professional and public roles after WWII. Prior to these standards, there existed serious ethical controversies in psychological experimentation. Some examples include conversion therapy to treat homosexuality, electroshock therapy performed on children, the Stanford Prison Experiment, and the Milgram Experiment. Unethical studies such as these were associated with lasting psychological trauma and/or unnecessary physical pain. Under the Ethics Code, psychologists must now adhere to five general principles:

Principle A: Beneficence and Nonmaleficence: psychologists' work must be beneficial to subjects without harming them in the process.

Principle B: Fidelity and Responsibility : psychologists must develop a professional and scientific environment based on trust, accountability, and ethical considerations.

Principle C: Integrity: psychologists must aim for honesty and transparency, and when deception is used, it must not be misconstrued as exploitative or otherwise malevolent.

Principle D: Justice: people are entitled to the advances made within psychology and the services of its field; psychologists should prevent injustice through awareness of biases and the limits of their expertise.

Principle E: Respect for people's rights and dignity: an individual's rights to privacy and confidentiality; awareness and respect for diversity in relation to gender, race, religion, disability, and socioeconomic status.

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The largest difference between old psychology and new psychology is the scientific method.   Psychology has its roots in philosophy, and therefore psychological investigation began as reflection free from the constraints of the kind of experimentation seen in sciences such as biology and physics in the early days.  Psychologists created their theories based on their perceptions and observations of others and their own personal experiences.  The first branch of psychology to be subjected to quantitative experimentation was that of perception, the study of the senses.   It was in the early 1800s that a call for a more scientific psychology was made.  It was then that a merger between psychology and biology began to form whereby the function of the mind was to enable adaptation to the environment.  By the late 1800s the new psychology had been established as a laboratory science in contrast to the old psychology, which was much more metaphysical in nature.  Of the old psychology, however, still remains the observational nature of investigation.  For instance, many a social psychology experiment consists of merely observing people interacting and reflecting on those observations.

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