UPSC CSE Psychology Optional Syllabus 2021
By On June 5th, 2021
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UPSC CSE Psychology Optional Syllabus for Paper-I, UPSC CSE Psychology Optional Syllabus for Paper-II
UPSC CSE Psychology Optional Syllabus for Paper-I

Foundations of Psychology

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
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UPSC CSE Psychology Optional Syllabus for Paper-II

Psychology : Issues and applications

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

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) On UPSC CSE Optional Syllabus 

Question- What is the UPSC’s Annual Programme (Calendar) of Examinations/RTs (Recruitment Tests)?
Answer – The UPSC publishes an Annual Programme (Calendar) of all the Structured Examinations/RTs conducted by it at least 6 months in advance (i.e. in June) for the Examinations/RTs to be conducted during the next calendar year. The Programme is uploaded on the UPSC’s website as also published in the leading news papers of the country. The date of issue of Examination Notice for each Examination is also mentioned in this Annual Programme.

Question- What happens if a candidate submits multiple online applications?
Answer – While a candidate should avoid submitting more than one online application, in case of doing so, the data provided in the last application (highest RID Number), that is successfully submitted online, is accepted by the Commission. All previous applications are ignored as these are amalgamated with the last completed & finally submitted application. If an applicant (who has already submitted an application successfully) wants to
make amendments in the application, then he has to submit a fresh application on or before the last date of submission of application of the Examination. Therefore, it must be ensured that fee is submitted against the
last online application only, which should also be complete in all respects including its final submission. Fee paid against one RID shall not be adjusted against any other RID number

Question- What action is taken by the Commission in case of submission of false information by the candidates?
Answer – A candidate found to be furnishing false information to the Commission or suppressing information, adopting various unfair means in the Examination like impersonation, cheating, etc., is liable to be disqualified
and/or debarred from writing UPSC Examinations as decided by the Commission. A detailed stipulation in this regard is incorporated in the Rules of Examination/ Examination Notices.

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