In the UPSC IAS mains examination, which consists of a total of 48 different disciplines, psychology is one of the optional subjects that candidates can choose to study. The scientific study of the human mind and its functions, particularly those that affect behavior in a given situation, is what is referred to as the field of psychology. The Psychology curriculum for the IAS exam assesses the candidate’s capacity to comprehend the subject as science and apply their knowledge to issues that are experienced by the general public. This course covers a range of subjects that are connected to both theoretical and applied aspects of psychology.
Why Would You Choose Psychology as an Optional Subject for the UPSC Exam?
- While answering writing in psychology, you’ll find that you can draw on a wide variety of real-world examples to support your claims.
- Psychology as an optional subject is open to everyone who wants to participate; you do not need a degree in the relevant field to do so.
- There is a variety of accessible and useful reading material available for this topic.
- Additionally, psychology can be of assistance in specific sections of the GS paper IV of UPSC mains as it includes discussions on a wide range of psychological aspects like attitude and emotional intelligence.
- People have a natural curiosity about the workings of human behavior and the mind, so the study of psychology is typically seen as an extremely interesting field of study. So, it might not be all that hard to stay interested in the topic while you are studying for the test.
We have mentioned the detailed syllabus for UPSC Mains Psychology optional papers I & II.
|UPSC Psychology Optional Paper I Syllabus|
Foundations of Psychology
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.
|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, brainstorming, grounded theory approach.
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 collection ( interview, observation, questionnaire); Research designs (ex-post facto and experimental); Application of statistical technique (t-test, two way ANOVA correlation, 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 behavior; Influence of cultural factors in socialization; Life span development -Characteristics, development tasks, promoting psychological well-being across major stages of the lifespan.
|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 defense-factors influencing space and depth perception, size estimation, and perceptual readiness; The plasticity of perception; Extrasensory perception; Culture and perception, Subliminal perception.
Concept and theories of learning (Behaviourists, Gestalt list, 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.
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.
|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.
|Motivation and Emotion:|
Psychological and physiological basis of motivation and emotion; Measurement of motivation and emotion; Effects of motivation and emotion on behavior; 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, Gull ford Vernon, Sternberg and J.P; Das; Emotional Intelligence, Social intelligence, measurement of intelligence and aptitudes, the concept of IQ, deviation IQ, constancy of IQ; Measurement of multiple intelligence; Fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence.
Definition and concept of personality; Theories of personality (psychoanalytical, socio-cultural, interpersonal, developmental, humanistic, behaviouristic, trait and type approach); 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:|
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 other’s behavior; Theories of attribution; Recent trends.
|Language and Communication:|
Human language – Properties, structure and linguistic hierarchy, Language acquisition-pre disposition, critical period hypothesis; Theories of language development – Skinner and Chomsky; Process and types of communication – effective communication training.
|Issues and Perspectives in Modern Contemporary Psychology:|
Computer application in the psychological laboratory and psychological testing; Artificial intelligence; Psycho cybernetics; Study of consciousness – sleep – wake schedules; dreams, stimulus deprivation, meditation, hypnotic/drug induced states; Extrasensory perception; Intersensory perception Simulation studies.
|UPSC Psychology Optional Paper 2 Syllabus|
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; Simulation research; extrasensory perception; intersensory perception
|Psychological well-being and Mental Disorders:|
Concept of health-ill health; Positive health, wellbeing; Causal factors 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.
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. 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.
|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 counseling; Use of psychological tests in educational institutions; Effective strategies in guidance programs.
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.
Primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention programs – the role of psychologists; Organising of services for the rehabilitation of physically, mentally, and socially challenged persons including old persons, Rehabilitation of persons suffering from substance abuse, juvenile delinquency, criminal behavior; 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 problems 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 in-group and out-group; Causal factors of social 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 behavior; Motivating and training people for entrepreneurship and economic development; Consumer rights and consumer awareness, Government policies for the promotion of entrepreneurship among youth including women entrepreneurs.
|Application of psychology to environment and related fields:|
Environmental psychology-effects of noise, pollution, and crowding; Population psychology: psychological consequences of population explosion and high population density; Motivating for small family norm; Impact of rapid scientific and technological growth on degradation of the environment.
|Application of psychology in other fields:|
Military Psychology Devising psychological tests for defense personnel for selection, Training, and counseling; training psychologists to work with defense personnel in promoting positive health; Human engineering in defense. Sports Psychology Psychological interventions in improving the performance of athletes and sports. Persons participating in Individual and Team Games. Media influences pro and antisocial behavior. Psychology of terrorism.
|Psychology of Gender:|
Issues of discrimination, Management of diversity; Glass ceiling effect, Self-fulfilling prophesy, Women and Indian society.
Suggestions for the UPSC’s main optional psychology preparation
Make prudent use of the internet, and avoid devoting an excessive amount of time to researching each and every subject. The research-oriented portion of the curriculum can benefit greatly from the use of the internet as a supplemental resource.
You will frequently run into questions while composing replies that you cannot answer using only the information you have already learned or memorized. In these situations, attempt to comprehend the question’s sole aim and what you may learn from it.
Take help from your mentor or join a reputed coaching institute for a better direction, which may provide you with proper guidance and strategy to crack this exam. Make sure you are taking help from a place that should be specialized for the subject you are seeking help or coaching for.
Get some answer writing practice in, focusing on using your instincts rather than absorbing theory. Again, a good mentor will help you in this process better.
When studying for the IAS (UPSC) Mains, where your ability to connect topics is heavily tested, spending extra time reviewing the topics and making notes or writing responses can help you find connections between topics, which will help you write better answers.
Important Books for Psychology Optional Paper
Introduction to Psychology: Ciccarelli or Baron
Social Psychology: Baron Robert
Theories of Personality: Bem P Allen
Human Development: Laura Berk / Feldman
Bio-Psychology: James W. Kalat. BioPsychology, Key-Points was written by Dr. Arvind Otta is also very useful to be aware of the terminology.
Cognitive Psychology: Robinson-Riegler
Statistics: Quinn McNemar / Minimum
Research Method: Lewin & Fox
Psychological Testing: Ronald Jay Cohen and Mark E. Swerdlik
Abnormal Psychology: Sarason and Sarason or Davison & Neale
Clinical Psychology: Alan Carr / Hecker and Geoffrey / Paul W. Bennett
Industrial Psychology: Michael Aamodt
Latest Advancement: Follow Psychology Journal or Magazine. You also refer to Psychologs Magazine
UPS Education is the leading institute for specialized coaching in the field of Psychology. The institute is known for its best results in the subject by the aspirants. At UPS Education, we provide a student-centered learning environment for a psychology aspirants.
You may get more details about the online coaching for Psychology optional for UPSC CSE & State PSC Exams by UPS Education through the following link.
Click here for UPSC Psychology optional online coaching by UPS Education
Other Important Links:
Click here for –Benefits of Clearing the GATE Psychology Entrance Exam
Click here for – List of Universities/Colleges offering Master’s degree in Psychology.
Click here for: PsyD Clinical Psychology in India | Colleges | RCI License | Books –UPS Education
List of all RCI recognized Institutes for M.Phil. Clinical Psychology: https://www.upseducation.in/update/list-of-rci-approved-m-phil-clinical-psychology-institutions/
Click here for Question Bank of UGC-NET-JRF: https://www.psycourse.in/upload/1/Pdf/Question%20Bank/UGC-NET-JRF-Questions-Bank-June-2012-to-2021.pdf
Join Online Classes to crack UGC-NET-JRF Psychology Entrance – https://www.upseducation.in/online-psychology-coaching/online-nta-net-psychology-coaching
**Contact details of UPS Education**