Important Topics in Psychology for UPSC MAINS Optional Paper 1
Paper I Section A

Introduction

  • Psychology as a science
  • Psychology & its relation to other fields
  • Perspectives In Psychology (Just 6 headings - Details
  • elsewhere)
  • Contribution of Gestalt School to development of Psychology
  • (SN)
  • Humanistic Perspective as the third force (Short Note)
  • Historical Antecedents
  • Trends in 21st Century


2. Methods of
Psychology

  • Experimental Methods & Non Experimental Methods
  • Control Groups & Within Subject Design of Experiment
  • Methodological Problems in Psychology
  • Types of Research - Diagnostic, Prognostic, Descriptive,
  • Evaluative
  • Focussed Group Discussions
  • Brain Storming
  • Grounded Theory Approach


3. Research Methods & Quant Analaysis

  • Major Steps in Psychological Research
  • Fundamental Vs. Applied Research
  • Methods of Data Collection (Interv, Observ, Questionnr, Case Study)
  • Experimentor's effect's influence on Findings of a study
  • Factor Analysis
  • Item Response Theory


Development of Human Behaviour

  • Socialization & Cultural Factors
  • Role of Environment & Genetics on development of Human
  • Behaviour
  • Life Span Development - Developmental Tasks
  • Critical Period
  • Maturation
  • Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development
  • Culture & Personality (Optional - Can be left if shortage of time)
  • Concept of Self - Shortnote (Optional)


5 Attention & Perception

  • Perception & its characteristics.
  • Perceptual Organization
  • Perceptual Defence (Short Note).
  • Signal Detection Theory & Classical Psychophysics (Short Note).
  • General Concepts in Attention.
  • Sublimial Perception (Short Note)
  • Threshold - Absolute & Differential Threshold (Part of
  • Psychophysics)
  • Vigilance & Factors Influencing it
  • Plasticity of Perception
  • Figure After Affects


Learning Classical Conditioning.

  • Operant Conditioning
  • Forms of Learning (including observational learning/Modelling).
  • Programmed Learning & its application in teaching.
  • Discrimination & Generalization (wrt to both CC & Operant
  • Conditioning)
  • Process of Extinction (wrt to both CC & Operant Conditioning)
  • Theories of Learning - Gestaltist & Information Processing Approach
  • Escape, Avoidance & Punishment
  • Attainment of Concepts & Concept Learning


7. Memory

  •  Information Processing Models of Memory
  • Two process theories of memory (short Note)
  • Forgetting (Short Note)
  • Theories of Forgetting (Repression, Decay & Interference theories)
  • Ways of Memory Enhancement
  • Basic Processes of Remembering
  • Stage Vs. Process Models of Memory
  • Concept of working memory
  • Metamemory
  • Amnesia - Anteretrograde & Retrograde
  • Iconic & Echoic Memory


Paper I Section B

Thinking & Problem

  • Solving Concept Formation
  • Convergent & Divergent thinking (Short Note)
  • Creativity & Fostering Creativity (Short Note).
  • Creativity & its link with Intelligence (Short Note)
  • Problem Solving & the steps involved
  • Mental Set & Problem Solving (short note)
  • Facilitatory & Hindering factors in problem solving
  • Methods of Problem Solving
  • Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development
  • Concept of Problem Space


9 Motivation & Emotion

  • Emotion - Characteristics, Components & Functions
  • James Lange theory of Emotion
  • Emergency Theory of Canon Bard
  • Schachter Singer Theory & Cognitive Appraisal Theory of Lazarus
  • Motivation - Its characteristics & the steps involved
  • Theories of Motivation (Hull, Lewin, Freud, Maslow, Deci & Ryan)
  • Field Theory or Vector Valence Theory of Kurt Lewin (Short Note)
  • Need Hierarchy Theory of Motivation (Maslow)
  • Psychoanalytical theory of Motivation
  • Drive Theory or Push theory of Hull
  • Extrinsic & Intrinsic Motivation
  • Emotional Competence
  • Homeostasis
  • Social & Economic Motives
  • Cognitive Evalutaion theory of Intrinsic Motivation
  • Cognitive Approach to Motivation & Emotion
  • Instinct, Drive, Arousal & Incentive Theories of Motivation


Intelligence & Aptitude Spearmans

  • Thurstone's Theory of Intelligence
  • Concept of Intelligence - nature & development
  • Concept of Aptitude (Short Note).
  • Creativity & its link with Intelligence (Short Note)
  • Emotional Intelligence & how to measure it (Full Length)
  • Social Intelligence (Short Note).
  • Multiple Intelligence & its measurement (Short Note)
  • Theories of Intelligence – J.P Guilford, Eysenck-Vernon Model
  • Sternberg Theory of Intelligence
  • Piaget's Theory of Cognitive Development
  • Bruner's Theory of Cognitive Development (Short Note)
  • J.P. Das - PASS Model
  • Concept of IQ, Deviation IQ, Constancy of IQ
  • Fluid Intelligence & Crystallized Intelligence (Cattell's Theory)

11 Personality Theories of Personality (Psychoanalytical)

  • Humanistic Approach to Personality
  • Rogers Concept of fully functional person.
  • Behaviouristic Approach to Personality
  • Trait & Type approaches to Personality (V. Important)
  • Projective techniques of perosnality assessment.
  • Projective Techniques Vs. Psychometric Tests in Personality
  • assesmt.
  • Personality - Concept & Individuality
  • Socio-Cultural Approach to Personality
  • Piagets theory of Cognitive Development
  • Indian Approach to Personality (Esp Guna Theory, Vedantic theory)
  • Self
  • Big 5 Theory


12 Attitudes, Values &
Interests

  • Attitude - its Components & Formation
  • Cognitive Dissonance Theory
  • Other theories of attitude


Attribution Theory

  • Attitude Change
  • Values - Concept, Components & Measurement (Short Note).
  • Strategies for fostering Values
  • Interest - Concept, Components & Measurement (Short Note)
  • How Values Motivate Individual
  • Measuring Attitude (Thurstone & Likert Attitude Scale)
  • Attribution Theories

13 Language &
Communication

  • Communication & its process, Importance & Barriers
  • Persuasive & Effective Communication
  • Skinner & Chomsky's theory of language development.
  • Human Language - Properties, Structure & Linguistic Hierarchy
  • Role of Language in Communication
  • Language Acquisition - Predisposition, Critical Period Hypothesis

14 Issues & Perspectives
in Modern Extrasensory Perception

  • Intersensory Perceiption.
  • Contemporary
  • Psychology Altered State of Consciousness & Meditation (short note)
  • Hypnosis (short note)
  • drug use (short note)
  • Sensory deprivation
  • Dreams
  • Sleep & Its Stages
  • Artificial Intelligence (Short Note).
  • Psychocybernetics
  • Use of Computers in Pyschological Experiments & Tests.