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    UPSC Psychology Syllabus 2023 for IAS - Check Syllabus for Paper 1 & 2

    Edited By Devnath Tiwari | Updated on May 12, 2023 11:50 AM IST | #UPSC CSE

    UPSC Psychology Syllabus 2023 - UPSC has mentioned the UPSC 2023 Psychology syllabus in the official notification online for mains exam. Candidates preparing for the IAS exam must check the Psychology syllabus for UPSC IAS mains 2023 before starting their preparations. With the help of the UPSC IAS 2023 Psychology question papers, candidates can check the important chapters, topics asked and difficulty level in the UPSC mains exam. UPSC CSE Psychology syllabus 2023 contains some important chapters of Paper 1 & 2 like Methods of Psychology, Research methods, Development of Human Behaviour, Therapeutic approaches, etc. UPSC Psychology syllabus consists 500 marks. For psychology IAS mains syllabus, aspirants must also refer to UPSC IAS syllabus 2023.
    Download the UPSC IAS Psychology Syllabus 2023 pdf - Click Here

    UPSC Psychology Syllabus 2023 for IAS - Check Syllabus for Paper 1 & 2
    UPSC Psychology Syllabus 2023 for IAS - Check Syllabus for Paper 1 & 2

    Along with the Psychology syllabus for UPSC, candidates must also check UPSC Psychology books for their effective preparation. Candidates can also download UPSC Psychology syllabus 2023 PDF for their convenience. For more details about the UPSC Psychology syllabus 2023, candidates can check the article given below.

    Also read: Information about category-wise career exams

    UPSC Psychology Optional Paper I Syllabus 2023




    • Definition of Psychology

    • Psychology in relation to other social sciences and natural sciences

    • Application of Psychology to societal problems.

    • Historical antecedents of Psychology and trends in the 21st century

    • Psychology and scientific methods

    Methods of Psychology

    • Types of research: Descriptive, evaluative, diagnostic and prognostic

    • Characteristics of experimental design and non-experimental designs; quasi-experimental designs

    • Focussed group discussions, brainstorming, grounded theory approach.

    • Methods of Research: Survey, observation, case-study and experiments

    Research methods

    • 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

    • Fundamental versus applied research; Methods of data collection (interview, observation, questionnaire and case study).

    • Research Designs (Ex-post facto and experimental).

    Development of 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

    • Growth and development; Principles of development, Role of genetic and environmental factors in determining human behaviour

    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.


    • Concepts and theories of learning (Behaviourists, Gestalt List and Information processing models).

    • Programmed learning, probability learning, self instructional learning, concepts, types and the schedules of reinforcement, escape, avoidance and punishment, modelling and social learning.

    • The processes of extinction, discrimination and generalisation.


    • 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 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


    • 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—predisposition, 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

    • Psycho Cybernetics; Study of consciousness sleep-wake schedules; dreams, stimulus deprivation, meditation, hypnotic/drug induced states

    • Extrasensory perception; Intersensory perception; Simulation studies

    UPSC Subject-wise Questions for various Subjects

    UPSC Psychology Optional Paper II Syllabus 2023


    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

    • Factors influencing positive health, well being; lifestyle and quality of life; Happiness disposition

    • Concept of health-ill health positive health, well being causal factors in Mental disorders (Anxiety disorders, mood disorders; schizophrenia and delusional disorders; personality disorders, substance abuse disorders)

    Therapeutic Approaches

    • Indigenous therapies (Yoga, Meditation). Biofeedback therapy. Prevention and rehabilitation of the mentally ill; Fostering mental health.

    • Psychodynamic therapies. Behaviour therapies. Client centered therapy. Cognitive therapies.

    Work Psychology and Organisational Behaviour

    • Herzberg, Maslow, Adam Equity theory, Porter and Lawler, Vroom; Leadership and participatory management; Advertising and marketing; Stress and its management

    • Training and human resource development.

    • Theories of work motivation.

    • Ergonomics; consumer psychology; Managerial effectiveness; Transformational leadership

    • Sensitivity training; Power and politics in organizations

    • Personnel selection and training. Use of Psychological tests in the industry.

    Application of Psychology to Educational Field

    • Psychological principles underlying effective teaching-learning processes. 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.

    • 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

    • Organising services for rehabilitation of physically, mentally and socially challenged persons including old persons.

    Application of Psychology to disadvantaged groups

    • Educating and motivating the disadvantaged towards development; Relative and prolonged deprivation.

    • The concepts of disadvantaged, deprivation, social, physical, cultural and economic consequences of disadvantaged and deprived groups.

    Psychological problem of social integration

    • Causal factors of such conflicts and prejudices. Psychological strategies for handling the conflicts and prejudices.

    • Measures to achieve 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.

    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 entrepreneurs.

    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 the environment.

    Application of psychology in other fields :

    • Military Psychology: Devising psychological 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.

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

    • Sports Psychology: Psychological interventions in improving performance of athletes and sports. Persons participating in Individual and Team Games.

    Also read: UPSC Mock Tests Series for UPSC

    UPSC Psychology Preparation Tips

    • Candidates must make UPSC Psychology optional preparation strategy

    • Applicants must also check IAS syllabus 2023 and exam pattern thoroughly.

    • Make short notes for last-minute revision

    • Practice previous year IAS question paper PDF.

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