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 (2016)
SECTION – A
1. Write short answers to the following in about 150 words each : 10×5=50 marks
(a) Explain how the fundamental understanding of psychology is helpful in the resolution of societal problems. 10 marks
(b) How can confounding variables invalidate the apparent results of an experiment? 10 marks
(c) “Cognitive psychologists often use computer as an analogy to explain the relation between cognition and brain.” Discuss. 10 marks
(d) Identify the most important changes that occur during adolescence. 10 marks
(e) What do you understand by amnesia ? Illustrate the types of amnesia with reference to the case of “H.M.’s brain operation”. | 10 marks
2. (a) Discuss, with suitable examples, the key characteristics of within-group and between-groups designs. 15 marks
(b) Describe the processing of sensory input and explain how it is selected, organized and interpreted. 15 marks
(c) Show your acquaintance with the cognitive approach to classical conditioning and describe how classical conditioning principles can be used to solve everyday problems. 20 marks
3. (a) Give a critical appraisal of interference theory of forgetting and show how the process of retrieval inhibition influences forgetting. 20 marks
(b) Describe the phenomenon of subliminal perception and explain it with reference to the concepts of backward marking and visual priming. Do you think that the effect of the phenomenon of subliminal perception can be generalized ? 15 marks
(c) Critically evaluate Erikson’s stages of Psychosocial development. 15 marks
4. (a) Describe the parenting styles that are used in raising a normal child. 15 marks
(b) How far do you agree with the contention that a more preferred activity can be used to reinforce a less preferred activity ? Also describe the types of reinforcement. 15 marks
(c) Explain the phenomena of implicit and explicit memories. Also critically evaluate Tulving’s model of long-term memory. 15 marks
SECTION – B
5. Answer each of the following questions in about 150 words : 10×5=50 marks
(a) Describe the characteristics of Gardner’s theory of intelligence. 10 marks
(b) Explain different types of psycho-active drugs and patterns of their use. 10 marks
(c) Discuss cognitive dissonance theory of attitude change. 10 marks
(d) Explain the contribution of Salovey and Mayer with regard to the concept of emotional intelligence. 10 marks
(e) What is meant by attribution ? Describe, citing examples, the phenomenon of attributional augmentation, 10 marks
6.(a) Explain the components of attitude and examine the methods of attitude formation. 15 marks
(b) Distinguish between mundane and exceptional creativities and citing suitable research evidences, describe the confluence approach to creativity. 20 marks
(c) Are projective tests really projective in nature ? Describe Rorschach and TAT tests and comment on their reliabilities. 15 marks
7.(a) Critically examine the metacognitive processes in problem solving. How do functional fixedness and mental set interfere in solving the problems effectively? 15 marks
(b) Explain motivational concepts with reference to homeostatic models. 15 marks
(c) Describe the physiological changes that are accompanied by shifts in consciousness in the process of sleep. Also discuss major sleep disorders. 20 marks
8.(a) Give a comparative account of information processing models of intelligence proposed by Sternberg and J.P. Das. 20 marks
(b) Discuss the Indian approach to personality as evident in tri-gunas. 15 marks
(c) Discuss the components of language acquisition citing the average age at which these are demonstrated by a child. 15 marks
Psychology Optional Question Paper-2 (2016)
SECTION – A
1. Write short answers to the following in about 150 words each : 10×5=50 marks
(a) In what ways psychological tests are useful in assessing individual differences ? Answer with examples. 10 marks
(b) How can psychological well-being of service professionals be promoted ? Discuss. 10 marks
(c) Is Herzberg’s theory relevant for understanding work motivation in Indian organizations? Explain. 10 marks
(d) Examine some important psychological principles underlying effective teachinglearning process. 10 marks
(e) Discuss the usefulness of small groups in community interventions for social development. 10 marks
2.(a) Examine the role of situational factors in criminal behaviour. 15 marks
(b) Analyze the factors determining the efficacy of psychological tests. Discuss the limitations in the use of psychological tests. 15 marks
(c) Discuss how the process of group decision making can be used effectively in bringing about social change. 20 marks
3.(a) Evaluate the role of social agencies in rehabilitation of mentally and socially challenged persons. 15 marks
(b) How is competency mapping made use of for human resource development in modern organizations ? Illustrator. 15 marks
(c) Discuss the salient features of psychodynamic therapies and evaluate their role in the prevention of mental illnesses. 20 marks
4.(a) Critically evaluate whether the principles of participatory management are equally effective in bureaucratic organizations as in industrial organizations. 15 marks
(b) How do lifestyle variables influence quality of life of an individual in different life domains ? 15 marks
(c) What psychological factors will explain lack of social integration involving religious groups in India ? Discuss. 20 marks
SECTION – B
5. (a) Discuss the efficacy of behaviour therapies in the prevention of mental illnesses. 10 marks
(b) What biological factors explain mental disorders ? Discuss. 10 marks
(c) Illustrate the signiticance of value education in schools and comment on its relevance for personality development of children. 10 marks
(d) Discuss the role of psychologists in organizing tertiary level rehabilitation programmes. 10 marks
(e) What role can media play in the promotion of small family norm in the Indian culture ? 10 marks
6. (a) Does need for affiliation come in the way of economic development of the tribal people ? Discuss. 15 marks
(b) Evaluate the psychological consequences of social media in interpersonal relationships 15 marks
(c) What role can psychologists play in the development and implementation of the “Skill India’ scheme of the Government of India ? 20 marks
7. (a) How can psychological theories be put to use to inoculate people against their impulsive buying behaviour ? 15 marks
(b) Discuss the role of cognitive and behaviour therapies in improving the performance of sports persons. 15 marks
(c) Analyze the impact of crowding on mental health. Discuss the psychological measures that can be adopted to reduce the stress resulting from crowding. 20 marks
8. (a) What factors account for gender differences in India? Suggest some psychological measures to reduce gender differences. 15 marks
(b) How can human engineering be put to use in devising instruments that are used by the defence personnel posted in the border areas ? Discuss. 15 marks
(c) Discuss the process of prejudice formation. State the psychological strategies that can be adopted for conflict resolution. 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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