UPSC IAS Psychology Syllabus 2023

Psychology is a pretty interesting subject and luckily is also offered as an optional subject to the UPSC aspirants. Those with knowledge and interest in this subject can surely select this as their optional paper for civil services exam. But before you start preparing for this subject, it is important that you familiarize yourself with its syllabus first. Topics like introduction, methods, related issues, etc re included into the syllabus which are very important for the exam. In this topic, the aspirants can find the complete information about the UPSC Psychology syllabus 2023.

UPSC Syllabus for Psychology Subject

In the UPSC exam, there will be two papers of Psychology and it is important that the candidates prepare for both these papers efficiently. Below given are the syllabi for both these papers that will provide the aspirants familiarity with the important topics related to the Psychology subject.

Syllabus of Paper I (Foundations of Psychology)

  1. Introduction: Definition of Psychology, Psychology in relation to other social sciences and natural sciences, Historical antecedents of Psychology and trends in the 21st century, Psychology and scientific methods, 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, Focused group discussions, Characteristics of experimental design and non-experimental designs, quasi-experimental designs, brain storming, grounded theory approach
  1. Research methods: Fundamental versus applied research, Major steps in psychological research (problem statement, hypothesis formulation, research design, sampling, tools of data collection, analysis and interpretation and report writing), Application of statistical techniques (t-test, two-way ANOVA, correlation and regression and factor analysis) item response theory, Methods of data collection (interview, observation, questionnaire and case study), Research Designs (Ex-post facto and experimental)
  2. Development of Human Behaviour: Principles of development, Role of genetic and environmental factors in determining human behaviour, Growth and development, Influence of cultural factors in socialization, Life span development, Characteristics, development tasks, promoting psychological well-being across major stages of the life span
  3. 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, Perceptual organization- influence of past experiences, biological factors in perception, The plasticity of perception, Extrasensory perception, Culture and perception, Subliminal perception, perceptual defence-factor influencing space and depth perception, size estimation and perceptual readiness
  4. Learning: Modeling and social learning, Concepts and theories of learning (Behaviorists, Gestaltist and Information processing models), self instructional learning, The processes of extinction, discrimination and generalization, Programmed learning, probability learning, concepts, types and the schedules of reinforcement, escape, avoidance and punishment
  5. Memory: Echoic memory: The Multistore model, levels of processing, Encoding and remembering, Shot-term memory, Long-term memory, Sensory memory, Iconic memory, Organization and Mnemonic techniques to improve memory, Amnesia: Anterograde and retrograde, Theories of forgetting: decay, interference and retrieval failure: Metamemory
  6. Thinking and Problem Solving: Concept formation processes, Information processing, Piaget’s theory of cognitive development, Reasoning and problem solving, Facilitating and hindering factors in problem solving, Factors influencing decision making and judgment, Recent trends, Methods of problem solving: Creative thinking and fostering creativity
  7. Motivation and Emotion: Effects of motivation and emotion on behaviour, Psychological and physiological basis of motivation and emotion, Measurement of motivation and emotion, Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation, Factors influencing intrinsic motivation, Emotional competence and the related issues,
  8. Intelligence and Aptitude: Nature and theories of intelligence- Spearman, Thurstone, Guilford Vernon, Sternberg and JP Das, Concept of intelligence and aptitude, Emotional Intelligence, Social intelligence, measurement of intelligence and aptitudes, Measurement of multiple intelligence, Fluid intelligence and crystallized intelligence, concept of IQ deviation IQ, constancy of IQ
  9. Personality: Definition and concept of personality, Measurement of personality (projective tests, pencil-paper test), Theories of personality (psychoanalytical, socio-cultural, interpersonal, developmental, humanistic, behaviouristic, trait and type approaches), The notion of self in different traditions, The Indian approach to personality, Training for personality development, Latest approaches like big 5 factor theory
  10. Attitudes, Values and Interests: Theories of attitude changes, Definitions of attitudes, , Formation of stereotypes and prejudices, values and interests, Components of attitudes, Formation and maintenance of attitudes, Measurement of attitudes, values and interests, strategies for fostering values, Changing other’s behaviour, Theories of attribution, Recent trends
  11. Language and Communication: Theories of Language development, Human language- Properties, structure and linguistic hierarchy, Language acquisition, predisposition, critical period hypothesis, Skinner and Chomsky, Process and types of communication, effective communication training,
  12. Issues & Perspectives in Modern Contemporary Psychology: Artificial intelligence, Computer application in the psychological laboratory and psychological testing, Psycho-cybernetics, Extrasensory perception, Study of consciousness sleep-walk schedules, dreams, stimulus deprivation, meditation, hypnotic/ drug induced states, Inter sensory perception, Simulation studies

Syllabus of Paper II (Psychology: Issues and applications)

  1. Psychological Measurement of Individual Differences: Types of psychological tests, The nature of individual differences, Characteristics and construction of standardized psychological tests, Ethical issues in the use of psychological tests, Use, misuse and limitation of psychological tests
  2. Psychological well being and Mental Disorders: Factors influencing positive health, well being, lifestyle and quality of life, Happiness disposition, Concept of health-ill health positive health, well being casual factors in Mental disorders (Anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia and delusional disorders, personality disorders, substance abuse disorders)
  3. Therapeutic Approaches: Biofeedback therapy, Psychodynamic therapies, Behaviour therapies, Client centered therapy, Cognitive therapies, fostering mental health, Indigenous therapies (Yoga, Meditation), Prevention and rehabilitation of the mentally ill
  4. Work Psychology and Organizational Behaviour: Advertising and marketing, Stress and its management, Personnel selection and training, Use of Psychological tests in the industry, Training and human resource development, Transformational leadership, Sensitivity training, Power and politics in organizations, Theories of work motivation, Herzberg, Maslow, Adam Equity theory, Porter and Lawler, Vroom, Leadership and participatory management, Ergonomics, consumer psychology, Managerial effectiveness
  5. Application of Psychology to Educational Field: Gifted, retarded, learning disabled and their training, Psychological principles underlying effective teaching-learning process, Educational, vocational guidance and Career counseling, Learning styles, Training for improving memory and better academic achievement, Personality development and value education, Use of Psychological tests in educational institutions, Effective strategies in guidance programmes
  6. Community Psychology: Definition and concept of Community Psychology, Effective strategies for social change, Use of small groups in social action Arousing Community consciousness and action for handling social problems, Group decision making and leadership for social change
  7. Rehabilitation Psychology: Primary, secondary and tertiary prevention programmes, Rehabilitation of persons suffering from substance abuse, role of psychologists, Organising of services for rehabilitation of physically, mentally and socially challenged persons including old persons, juvenile delinquency, criminal behaviors, Rehabilitation of HIV/ AIDS victims, the role of social agencies, Rehabilitation of victims of violence
  8. Application of Psychology to disadvantaged groups: Educating and motivating the disadvantaged towards development, The concepts of disadvantaged, deprivation social, physical, cultural and economic consequences of disadvantaged and deprived groups, Relative and prolonged deprivation,
  9. Psychological problem of social integration: Nature and manifestation of prejudice between the ingroup and outgroup, The concept of social integration, The problem of caste, class, religion and language conflicts and prejudice, Measures to achieve social integration, Casual factors of such conflicts and prejudices, Psychological strategies for handling the conflicts and prejudices
  10. Application of Psychology in Information Technology and Mass Media: Impact of TV and fostering value through IT and mass media, Entrepreneurship through e-commerce, Multilevel marketing, 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, Psychological consequences of recent developments in Information Technology
  11. Psychology and Economic development: Consumer rights and consumer awareness, Achievement motivation and economic development, Characteristics of entrepreneurial behaviour, Government policies for promotion of entrepreneurship among youth including women entrepreneurs, Motivating and Training people for entrepreneurship and economic development
  12. Application of Psychology to environment and related fields:
  • Environmental Psychology- effects of noise, pollution and crowding
  • Population Psychology- Motivating for small family norms, Psychological consequence of population explosion and high population density, Impact of rapid scientific and technological growth on degradation of environment
  1. Application of psychology in other fields:
  • Military Psychology: Human engineering in defence, Devising psychological tests for defence personnel for use in selection, Training, counseling, training psychologists to work with defence personnel in promoting positive health
  • Sports Psychology: Psychological interventions in improving performance of athletes and sports persons participating in Individual and Team Games
  • Media influences on pro and anti-social behaviour
  • Psychology of Terrorism
  1. Psychology of Gender: Women and Indian society, Issues of discrimination, Glass ceiling effect, Management of diversity, Self-fulfilling prophecy

UPSC IAS Psychology Syllabus 2023: Download PDF

UPSC Syllabus

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