Psychology Optional UPSC Syllabus

Psychology Optional-Syllabus


Foundations of Psychology
1. Introduction : Definition of Psychology; Historical antecedents of Psychology and trends
in the 21st centrury; Psychology and scientific methods; Psychology in relation to other social
sciences and natural sciences; Application of Psychology to societal problems.

2. 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 designs; quasi-experimental designs;
Focussed group discussions, brain storming, grounded theory approach.

3. Research methods : Major steps in psychological research (problem statement,
hypothesis formulation, research design, sampling, tools of data collection, analysis and
interpretation and report writing); Fundamental versus applied research; Methods of data
collection (interview, observation, questionnaire and case study). Research Designs (Ex-post facto
and experimental). Application of statistical techniques (t-test, two-way ANOVA, correlation and
regression and factor analysis) item response theory.

4. Development of Human Behaviour : Growth and development; Principles of
development, Role of genetic and environmental factors in determining human behaviour;
Influence of cultural factors in socialization; Life span development—Characteristics, development
tasks, promoting psychological well-being across major stages of the life span.

5. Sensation, Attention and Perception : Sensation: concepts of 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-factor
influencing space and depth perception, size estimation and perceptual readiness; The plasticity of
perception; Extrasensory perception; Culture and perception, Subliminal perception.

6. Learning : Concepts and theories of learning (Behaviourists, Gestaltalist and Information
processing models). The processes of extinction, discrimination and generalisation. Programmed
learning, probability learning, self instructional learning, concepts, types and the schedules of
reinforcement, escape, avoidance and punishment, modelling and social learning.

7. Memory : Encoding and remembering; Shot-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.

8. 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 judgement; Recent trends.

9. 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.

10. Intelligence and Aptitude : Concept of intelligence and aptitude, Nature and theories
of intelligence-Spearman, Thurstone, Gulford Vernon, Sternberg and J.P. Das; Emotional
Intelligence, Social intelligence, measurement of intelligence and aptitudes, concept of I Q
deviation I Q, constancy of I Q; Measurement of multiple intelligence; Fluid intelligence and
crystallized intelligence.

11. Personality : Definition and concept of personality; Theories of personality
(psychoanalytical, socio-cultural, 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.

12. Attitudes, Values and Interests : Definitions of attitudes, values and interests;
Components of attitudes; Formation and maintenance of attitudes. Measurement of attitudes,
values and interests. Theories of attitude changes, strategies for fostering values. Formation of
stereotypes and prejudices; Changing other’s behaviour, Theories of attribution; Recent trends.

13. Language and Communication : Human language—Properties, structure and
linguistic hierarchy, Language acquisition—predispotion, critical period hypothesis; Theories of
Language development—Skinner and Chomsky; Process and types of communication—effective
commu-nication training.

14.Issues and Perspectives in Modern Contemporary Psychology : Computer application
in the psychological laboratory and psychological testing; Artificial intelligence;
Psychocybernetics; Study of consciousnessleep-wak schedules; dreams, stimulus deprivation,
meditation, hypnotic/drug induced states; Extrasensory perception; Intersensory perception;
Simulation studies.


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.
Ethical issues in the use of psychological tests.

2. Psychological well being and Mental Disorders :
Concept of health-ill health positive health, well being casual factores in Mental disorders
(Anxiety disorders, mood disorders; schizophrenia and delusional disorders; personality
disorders, substance abuse disorders). Factors influencing positive health, well being; lifestyle
and quality of life; Happiness disposition.

3. Therapeutic Approaches :
Psychodynamic therapies. Behaviour therapies. Client centered therapy. Cognitive therapies.
Indigenous therapies (Yoga, Meditation). Biofeedback therapy. Prevention and rehabilitation of the
mentally ill; Fostering mental health.

4. 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 leadersip; Senitivity training; Power and politics in organizations.

5. Application of Psychology to Educational Field :
Psychological principles underlying effective teaching-learning process. Learning styles.
Gifted, retarded, learning disabled and their training. Training for improving memory and better
academic achievement. Personality development and value education. Educational, vocational
guidance and Career counselling. Use of Psychological tests in educational institutions; Effective
strategies in guidance programmes.

6. Community Psychology :
Definition and concept of Community Psychology. Use of small groups in social action.
Arousing Community consciousness and action for handling social problems. Group decision
making and leadership for social change. Effective strategies for social change.

7. Rehabilitation Psychology :
Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention programmes—role of psychologists. Organising of
services for rehabilitation of physically, mentally and socially challenged persons including old
persons. Rehabilitation of persons suffering from substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, criminal
behaviours. Rehabilitation of victims of violence. Rehabilitation of HIV/AIDS victims, the role of
social agencies.

8. Application of Psychology to disadvantaged groups :
The concepts of disadvantaged, deprivation social, physical, cultural and economic
consequences of disadvantaged and deprived groups. Educating and motivating the
disadvantaged towards development; Relative and prolonged deprivation.

9. Psychological problem of social integration :
The concept of social integration. The problem of caste, class, religion and language conflicts
and prejudice. Nature and manifestation of prejudice between the ingroup and outgroup. Casual
factors of such conflicts and prejudices. Psychological strategies for handling the conflicts and
prejudices. Measures to achieve social integration.

10. Application of Psychology in Information Technology and Mass Media :
The present scenario of information technology and the mass media boom and the role of
psychologists. Selection and training of Psychology professionals to work in the field of IT and
mass media. Distance learning through IT and mass media. Entrepreneurship through e-commerce.
Multilevel marketing. Impact of TV and fostering value through IT and mass media. Psychological
consequences of recent developments in Information Technology.

11. Psychology and Economic development :
Achievement motivation and economic development. Characteristics of entrepreneurial
behaviour. Motivating and Training people for entrepreneurship and economic development;
Consumer rights and consumer awareness, Government policies for promotion of
entrepreneurship among youth including women entreprenures.

12. Application of Psychology to environment and related fields :
Environmental Psychology effects of noise, pollution and crowding. Population Psychology :
Psychological consequence of population explosion and high population density. Motivating for
small family norms. Impact of rapid scientific and technological growth on degradation of

13. Application of psychology in other fields :
(a) Military Psychology
Devising psycological tests for defence personnel for use in selection, Training,
counseling; training psychologists to work , with defence personnel in promoting positive health;
Human engineering in defence.
(b) Sports Psychology
Psychological interventions in improving performance of athletes and sports. Persons
participating in Individual and Team Games.
(c) Media influences on pro and anti-social behaviour.
(d) Psychology of Terrorism.

14. Psychology of Gender :
Issues of discrimination, Management of diversity; Glass ceiling effect, Self-fulfilling prophesy,
Women and Indian society.

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