UPSC Psychology optional subject syllabus

UPSC Optional Paper Syllabus for Psychology – Paper I (Foundations of Psychology)

  1. Introduction:
  • Definition of Psychology; 
  • Historical antecedents of Psychology and trends in the 21st century; 
  • Psychology and scientific methods; 
  • Psychology in relation to other social sciences and natural sciences; 
  • Application of Psychology to societal problems.
  1. Methods of Psychology:
  • Types of research: Descriptive, evaluative, diagnostic and prognostic; 
  • Methods of Research: Survey, observation, case-study and experiments; 
  • Characteristics of experimental design and non-experimental design, Quasi-experimental designs; 
  • Focussed group discussions, brain storming, grounded theory approach.
  1. Research Methods:
  • Major steps in Psychological research (problem statement, hypothesis formulation, research designs, sampling, tools of data collection, analysis and interpretation and report writing) Fundamental versus applied research; 
  • Methods of data collect ion ( interview, observat ion, quest ionnaire); 
  • Research designs (ex-post facto and experimental); 
  • Application of statistical technique (t – test, two way ANOVA correlation, regression and factor analysis); 
  • Item response theory.
  1. Development of Human Behaviour:
  • Growth and development; 
  • Principles of development, Role of genetic and environmental factors in determining human behavior; 
  • Influence of cultural factors in socialization; 
  • Life span development – Characteristics, development tasks, promoting psychological well-being across major stages of the life span.
  1. Sensation, Attention, and Perception:
  • Sensation: concepts of the threshold, absolute and difference thresholds, signal-detection and vigilance; 
  • Factors influencing attention including set and characteristics of stimulus; 
  • Definition and concept of perception, biological factors in perception; 
  • Perceptual organization-influence of past experiences, perceptual defence-factors influencing space and depth perception, size estimation and perceptual readiness; 
  • The plasticity of perception; 
  • Extrasensory perception; 
  • Culture and perception, Subliminal perception.
  1. Learning:
  • Concept and theories of learning (Behaviourists, Gestaltalist and Information processing models); 
  • The Processes of extinction, discrimination and generalization; Programmed learning, probability learning, self-instructional learning, concepts; 
  • Types and the schedules of reinforcement, escape, avoidance and punishment, modeling and social learning.
  1. Memory:
  • Encoding and remembering; 
  • Short term memory, Long term memory, Sensory memory, Iconic memory, Echoic memory: 
  • The Multistore model, levels of processing; 
  • Organization and Mnemonic techniques to improve memory;
  • Theories of forgetting: decay, interference and retrieval failure: 
  • Metamemory; 
  • Amnesia: 
  • Anterograde and retrograde.
  1. Thinking and Problem Solving:
  • Piaget’s theory of cognitive development; 
  • Concept formation processes; 
  • Information processing, Reasoning and problem solving, 
  • Facilitating and hindering factors in problem solving, 
  • Methods of problem solving: 
  • Creative thinking and fostering creativity; 
  • Factors influencing decision making and judgment; 
  • Recent trends.
  1. Motivation and Emotion:
  • Psychological and physiological basis of motivation and emotion; 
  • Measurement of motivation and emotion; 
  • Effects of motivation and emotion on behaviour; 
  • Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation; 
  • Factors influencing intrinsic motivation; 
  • Emotional competence and the related issues.
  1. Intelligence and Aptitude:
  • Concept of intelligence and aptitude, Nature and theories of intelligence – Spearman, Thurstone, Gullford Vernon, Sternberg and J.P; Das; 
  • Emotional Intelligence, Social intelligence, measurement of intelligence and aptitudes, concept of IQ, deviation IQ, constancy of IQ; 
  • Measurement of multiple intelligence; 
  • Fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence.
  1. Personality:
  • Definition and concept of personality; 
  • Theories of personality (psychoanalytical, sociocultural, interpersonal, developmental, humanistic, behaviouristic, trait and type approaches); 
  • Measurement of personality (projective tests, pencil-paper test); The Indian approach to personality; 
  • Training for personality development; 
  • Latest approaches like big 5 factor theory; 
  • The notion of self in different traditions.
  1. Attitudes, Values and Interests:
  • Definition of attitudes, values and interests; Components of attitudes; 
  • Formation and maintenance of attitudes; 
  • Measurement of attitudes, values and interests; 
  • Theories of attitude change; 
  • Strategies for fostering values; 
  • Formation of stereotypes and prejudices; 
  • Changing others behaviour; 
  • Theories of attribution; 
  • Recent trends.
  1. Language and Communication:
  • Human language – Properties, structure and linguistic hierarchy, Language acquisition-predisposition, critical period hypothesis; 
  • Theories of language development – Skinner and Chomsky; 
  • Process and types of communication – effective communication training.
  1. Issues and Perspectives in Modern Contemporary Psychology:
  • Computer application in the psychological laboratory and psychological testing;
  • Artificial intelligence; 
  • Psychocybernetics; 
  • Study of consciousness – sleep – wake schedules; 
  • dreams, stimulus deprivation, meditation, hypnotic/drug induced states;
  • Extrasensory perception; Intersensory perception Simulation studies.

UPSC Optional Paper Syllabus for Psychology – Paper-II (Psychology: Issues and Applications)

  1. Psychological Measurement of Individual Differences:
  • The nature of individual differences; 
  • Characteristics and construction of standardized psychological tests; 
  • Types of psychological tests; 
  • Use, misuse and limitation of psychological tests; 
  • hical issues in the use of psychological tests.
  1. Psychological well being and Mental Disorders:
  • Concept of health-ill health; 
  • Positive health, well being; 
  • Causal factors in mental disorders (Anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia and delusional disorders; personality disorders, substance abuse disorders); 
  • Factors influencing positive health, well being, life style and quality of life; 
  • Happiness disposition.
  1. Therapeutic Approaches:
  • Psychodynamic therapies; 
  • Behaviour therapies; 
  • Client centered therapy; 
  • Cognitive therapies; 
  • Indigenous therapies (Yoga, Meditation); 
  • Bio-feedback therapy; 
  • Prevention and rehabilitation of the mentally ill; 
  • Fostering mental health.
  1. Work Psychology and Organisational Behaviour:
  • Personnel selection and training; 
  • Use of psychological tests in the industry; 
  • Training and human resource development;
  • Theories of work motivation – Herzberg, Maslow, Adam Equity theory, Porter and Lawler, Vroom; 
  • Leadership and participatory management; 
  • Advertising and marketing; Stress and its management; 
  • Ergonomics; consumer psychology; 
  • Managerial effectiveness; 
  • Transformational leadership; 
  • Sensitivity training; 

Power and politics in organizations.

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