UPSC » UPSC – Psychology Syllabus

UPSC – Psychology 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 environment.  

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.