The UPSC Civil Services Examination is one of the most prestigious and challenging competitive exams in India. To excel in the Mains stage of this examination, which is the second phase, candidates often choose an optional subject that aligns with their strengths and interests. Psychology, as an optional subject, has gained popularity over the years due to its interdisciplinary nature and the fact that it can be relatable to various aspects of general studies. To prepare effectively for UPSC Mains 2023, 2022, or any other year, aspirants must make judicious use of previous year papers. These papers offer invaluable insights into the exam pattern, question types, and the depth of knowledge required. For psychology optional, going through the previous year papers from 2013 to 2023 can help candidates understand the evolving trends, focus areas, and the level of proficiency expected by the UPSC examiners.
By analyzing the UPSC Mains psychology optional previous year papers from 2013 to 2023, aspirants can identify recurring themes and topics that are frequently asked, allowing them to prioritize their study efforts effectively. Moreover, these papers serve as excellent practice material for honing answer-writing skills, as they showcase the expected format, depth, and conciseness required for scoring well in the psychology optional paper. It’s essential for candidates to not only solve these papers but also to critically evaluate their responses to understand their strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, studying previous year papers can help candidates anticipate the kind of questions that might be asked in the upcoming exams and tailor their preparation accordingly. Overall, the strategic use of UPSC Mains psychology optional previous year papers is an indispensable tool for those aspiring to succeed in this demanding examination.
Question Paper Specific Instructions
- Please read each of the following instructions carefully before attempting questions :
- There are EIGHT questions divided in two SECTIONS and printed both in HINDI and in ENGLISH.
- Candidate has to attempt FIVE questions in all.
- Questions no. 1 and 5 are compulsory and out of the remaining, THREE are to be attempted choosing at least ONE from each section.
- The number of marks carried by a question / part is indicated against it.
- Answers must be written in the medium authorized in the Admission Certificate which must be stated clearly on the cover of this Question-cum-Answer (QCA) Booklet in the space provided. No marks will be given for answers written in a medium other than the authorized one.
- Word limit in questions, wherever specified, should be adhered to.
- Illustrate your answers with suitable sketches, maps and diagrams. These shall be drawn in the space provided for answering the question itself.
- Attempts of questions shall be counted in chronological order. Unless struck off, attempt of a question shall be counted even if attempted partly. Any page or portion of the page left blank in the answer book must be clearly struck off.
Psychology Optional Question Paper-1 (2015)
SECTION – A
1. Write short answers to the following in about 150 words each : 10×5=50 marks
(a) Why is it important to understand psychological processes for other disciplines of social science ? 10 marks
(b) Discuss the role of socio-cultural factors in promotion of well-being across major stages of life-span. 10 marks
(c) How far is it correct to state that most of the problems of psychology can be addressed more adequately by adopting quasi-experimental designs ? 10 marks
(d) Evaluate the notion of programmed learning and describe its relevance for modern day education with suitable examples 10 marks
(e) Bring out the disruption in retrieval processes due to anxiety, context and repression. 10 marks
2.(a) Keeping in view the strife in current social situation, discuss how a psychologist can contribute towards providing interventions for such problems. 15 marks
(b) Citing studies on amnesia show how the explicit and implicit memory systems are separate. 20 marks
(c) Demonstrate with suitable examples how the signal detection theory has helped in modifying the process of vigilance. 15 marks
3.(a) Under what kind of research conditions does the use of factor analysis become necessary ? Discuss. 20 marks
(b) How far do you agree with the contention that research findings on infant memory can present novel approaches toward analyzing adult memories ? Corroborate your answer with examples. 15 marks
(c) Review Bandura’s social learning theory and evaluate its impact on understanding aggression as a result of media generated violence. 15 marks
4.(a) It is believed that non-experimental designs are more relevant for explaining the emerging issues like social evils that are seen prominently in India. Discuss. 20 marks
(b) With suitable examples, discuss the logic behind following the systematic steps in conducting psychological research. 15 marks
(c) Do the cultural settings influence the understanding and evaluation of meanings of external stimuli ? Provide suitable justification for your answer. 15 marks
SECTION – B
5. (a) Discuss the brain mechanisms underlying hunger motive. 10 marks
(b) Evaluate the utility of J.P. Das’ model in understanding the concept of intelligence. 10 marks
(c) Highlight the problems in assessment of personality using the pencil-paper tests. 10 marks
(d) Illustrate with suitable examples the non-verbal process of communication. 10 marks
(e) What are the general strategies used in problem solving ? How do these differ from domain-specific procedures ? 10 marks
6.(a) Distinguish between extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. Which one is more powerful and why ? 20 marks
(b) Describe Piaget’s stages of cognitive development. Critique his theory. 15 marks
(c) Discuss briefly the evolution of factor theory of intelligence in the works of Spearman, Thurstone and Guilford. 15 marks
7.(a) Describe the trait and type approaches to personality. Highlight Jung’s typology with its weaknesses. 20 marks
(b) Why are we awake at certain times and asleep at others ? Explain this with help of opponent process model. 15 marks
(c) What is an aptitude ? Describe the various tests of aptitudes. 15 marks
8.(a) “Children are not bom with stereotypes; they learn them from their family, peers, media and society.”—Discuss. 20 marks
(b) How does Chomsky’s Theory differ from that of Skinner in language development ? Discuss. 15 marks
(c) State the components of Big-5 factor theory of personality. Why is it considered superior to other factor theories of personality ? 15 marks
Psychology Optional Question Paper-2 (2015)
SECTION – A
1. Write short answers to the following in about 150 words each : 10×5=50 marks
(a) What is the phenomenon of ‘groupthink’? How can it influence the quality of group decision making? 10 marks
(b) How are indigenous knowledge systems related to environmental degradation? Mention some psychological processes underlying environmental attitudes and values. 10 marks
(c) Discuss some strategies for dealing with academic underachievement in Indian schools. 10 marks
(d) What role can psychologists play in primary, secondary and tertiary prevention programmes in relation to terminal illness such as coronary heart disease and cancer? 10 marks
(e) Socioeconomic and educational disadvantages have been viewed from ‘deficit* as well as ‘difference’ perspectives. Citing examples of each approach, discuss the difference between the two and their implications. 10 marks
2.(a) Does the notion of self-fulfilling prophecy relating to achievement satisfactorily explain gender differences in achievement? 15 marks
(b) Critically evaluate the relationship between economic growth and human well being in the light of contemporary research on happiness. 15 marks
(c) What is the relationship that has been found, between need for achievement, need for affiliation and need for power with economic development? Discuss the relevance of these findings in the context of Indian society. 20 marks
3.(a) Do you think that efficacy of personnel selection can be improved by using multiple methods? 15 marks
(b) Elucidate the learning principles underlying behaviour therapies. Examine the relative efficacy of cognitive therapy and behaviour therapy in helping students overcome social anxiety. 15 marks
(c) Why do teaching-learning processes in Indian classrooms tend to be teacher- centred? If knowledge is viewed as a constructive process, what kind of classroom would be suitable for rural Indian schools? 20 marks
4.(a) Indian soldiers defend the country in extreme and, at times, hostile physical environments. What kinds of psychological problems are they likely to experience? 15 marks
(b) What specific role can psychologists play in the management and rehabilitation of persons suffering from HIV/AIDS? 15 marks
(c) According to Social Identity Theory, social categorization and differentiation processes are implicated in intergroup conflict. Evaluate the theory against available research evidence. 20 marks
SECTION – B
5. (a) To what extent would you agree that human resource development is more about inculcation of human values and less about development of competencies? 10 marks
(b) Discuss the psychological mechanisms by which television viewing affects aggression and consumer behaviour in children. 10 marks
(c) How can ‘Ashtanga Yoga’ help in fostering holistic health? Support your answer with research evidence. 10 marks
(d) Substance abuse is a growing phenomenon among Indian youths. Discuss the psychological causes of and intervention measures for substance abuse. 10 marks
(e) How can psychological knowledge be put to use in changing the behaviour of children inclined to consume ‘junk food’? 10 marks
6.(a) Indian defence personnel tend to experience depression, sometimes leading to suicides. What type of psychological interventions can foster positive mental health in them? 15 marks
(b) “Glass ceiling effects in organizations are rooted in socialization and family.” Discuss with reference to the psychological bases of gender role development. 15 marks
(c) It has been found that cultural factors can be used to facilitate social change. What cultural factors can be made use of, and how, in making a success of the governmental programme called ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’? 20 marks
7.(a) Religious violence in India has shown only a marginal decline over the years. What social and psychological factors explain it the most? 15 marks
(b) How is population growth in India affected by psychological processes of attribution, beliefs and values? Discuss possible implications of these processes for population education in India. 15
(c) How will you go about constructing a test for assessing aptitude for Civil 9 Services? Discuss the details. 20 marks
8.(a) What are_some important ethical principles that psychologists must adhere to while making use of psychological tests? 15 marks
(b) Psychologists have recently identified. a disorder which they term ‘internet- addiction\ What are its presenting features? How can those suffering from this addiction be helped? 15 marks
(c) Tribal children in India are disadvantaged partly because of the neglect of their language and culture in education. How can education for tribal children be reformed to deal with such disadvantage? 20 marks
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q1: What is the significance of Psychology as an optional subject in UPSC Mains?
A1: Psychology is a popular optional subject in UPSC Mains because it offers a comprehensive understanding of human behavior, cognition, and the application of psychological principles in various real-world contexts. It enables candidates to approach social and administrative issues with a deeper insight into human psychology.
Q2: How many previous year papers of Psychology optional should I study for UPSC Mains?
A2: It’s advisable to study at least the last five years’ UPSC Mains Psychology optional papers. This will give you a good understanding of the question pattern, evolving trends, and the kind of questions that are frequently asked.
Q3: Are there any specific areas within Psychology that UPSC tends to focus on in the optional paper?
A3: While UPSC can ask questions from a broad range of psychology topics, some areas like developmental psychology, social psychology, and applied psychology are often emphasized. It’s important to have a strong foundation in these areas.
Q4: How can I effectively prepare for the Psychology optional paper in UPSC Mains?
A4: To prepare effectively, you should start by thoroughly understanding the syllabus, reading standard textbooks, and practicing answer writing. Additionally, consider enrolling in a reputable coaching program that specializes in Psychology as an optional subject.
Q5: Can I choose Psychology as an optional subject if I have no prior background in the field?
A5: Yes, you can choose Psychology as an optional subject even if you don’t have a background in the field. Many successful candidates have opted for this subject without prior knowledge. However, a strong dedication to studying and understanding the subject matter is essential for success in the UPSC Mains exam.
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