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 (2018)
SECTION – A
1. Write short answers to the following in about 150 words each
(a) Discuss how psychology can be applied in solving the problem of global climate change.
(b) “Human memory is not like information stored in a tape recorder or compact disc.” Critically evaluate the statement.
(c) According to Piaget, the egocentric preschooler is not intentionally ‘inconsiderate’ but rather has difficulty taking another’s viewpoint. Explain.
(d) Explain and critically evaluate the phenomenon of perceptual defense.
(e) Examine how probability learning is different from other types of learning. Give examples.
2. (a) Perception is plastic. However, it may also be affected by innate tendencies. Critically evaluate.
(b) How have neuroscientists and evolutionary scientists contributed to modern psychology?
(c) Demonstrate the importance of shallow and deep levels of processing in remembering. With the help of daily life examples, explain how retrieval cues enable us to remember.
3. (a) Why is the principle of random assignment of participants used in the experimental method? How do experimenter effects and demand characteristics influence participants’ behavior in experimentation? What procedures can be adopted to minimize such pitfalls?
(b) Differentiate between positive and negative types of reinforcement and punishment. Describe how these could be applied to enforce putting on seat belts while driving.
(c) Differentiate between various developmental tasks of young men and women in India.
4. (a) What are the assumptions underlying ANOVA? Discuss the conditions when two-way ANOVA is applied and how the results are interpreted with a hypothetical example.
(b) Discuss signal detection theory and explain its applications.
(c) How can different methods of sampling and data collection be useful in the impact evaluation of government social schemes? Describe with a suitable example.
SECTION – B
5. Answer the following questions in about 150 words each:
(a) Explain the use of availability heuristic and representativeness heuristic in problem solving with the help of research studies.
(b) Do you think being in a good mood reduces your capacity to process incoming information? Examine in the light of research studies.
(c) According to Bandura, human beings often demonstrate an impressive capacity for the self-regulation of their own behavior. Evaluate.
(d) In what way can dissonance be an effective means for changing attitudes and behavior?
(e) Explain various limitations of verbal communication.
6. (a) Compare the trait perspective and humanistic perspective on personality.
(b) “Creativity refers to novel ideas that address some problems in a useful way.” Critically examine the statement and discuss how creative insight can be explained.
(c) Is sleep a passive process? Justify your answer with proper scientific support.
7. (a) Describe the structure and features of language focusing on what makes human language unique in comparison to communication in animals.
(b) Discuss contemporary researches on simulating human intelligence using machines and their implications for understanding human behavior.
(c) Discuss the significance and correlates of values. Comment on the impact of social media on values.
8. (a) Describe how J. P. Das’ theory is distinct from other theories of intelligence.
(b) Explain the concepts of self-serving bias and fundamental attribution error. How do they affect problem solving?
(c) Are emotionally competent people internally controlled? Explain. What are the ways to enhance intrinsic motivation of young adults?
Psychology Optional Question Paper-2 (2018)
SECTION – A
1. Write short answers to the following in about 150 words each
(a) Bring out the similarities and differences between intelligence, aptitude, and achievement tests.
(b) How does stress contribute to the causation of physical illness? Discuss the role of optimism as a factor moderating the impact of stress.
(C) In the context of positive social change, differentiate between first-order and second-order change. Why is second-order change often the focus of community psychology?
(d) What role do cultural factors play in the rehabilitation of senior citizens with possible memory and cognitive decline? Comment on the significance of family and social support in such rehabilitation in India.
(e) In what specific ways can psychologists work for empowering communities that have been marginalized by society?
2. (a) Discuss the efficacy of systematic desensitization in reducing clients’ phobic reactions. Illustrate your answer with a suitable example.
(b) Explain the etiology of manic-depressive disorder. Evaluate the suitability of therapeutic methods for the treatment of manic-depressive disorder.
(C) Discuss the different steps in the construction and standardization of psychological tests. Illustrate your answer with a suitable example.
3. (a) How is giftedness identified and what are the issues in such identification in the Indian context? How is giftedness related to IQ and creativity?
(b) Discuss the distinctive aspects of modern psychodynamic therapy. How can it be helpful in the treatment of a diverse array of disorders?
(C) Can effective teaching-learning be viewed as a process of collaborative construction of knowledge? What are the implications of such a view on classroom structure and management in Indian conditions?
4. (a) Explain the nature of sensitivity training. Comment on its utility as an organizational development technique.
(b) Discuss the role of social and environmental intervention in the rehabilitation of the mentally challenged. Why are such interventions crucial in Indian settings?
(C) Explain Herzberg’s theory of work motivation. Critically comment on its relevance in context.
SECTION – B
5. Answer the following questions:
(a) Explain, using a psychological framework, the impact of IT and mass media on work-life in India.
(b) What psychological factors act as barriers in the context of women’s entrepreneurship? How can they be overcome?
(c) Discuss the most commonly used techniques or skills psychologists teach athletes for improving their performance.
(d) Explain the psychosocial factors demotivating people from small family norms.
(e) With some examples, show how indigenous knowledge systems can be used in the management of biodiversity and cultural diversity.
6. (a) How is disadvantage related to the social structure of hierarchy and discrimination? What is its relationship with capability deprivation and poverty?
(b) Discuss the relevance of the frustration-aggression hypothesis in the context of caste prejudice in India.
(c) Discuss some major factors of educational failure among tribal communities in India. Why must the education of the disadvantaged emphasize the development of self-efficacy and intrinsic motivation?
7. (a) Explain how mass media contributes to the acquisition and learning of aggressive and violent behavior. Examine the relationship between exposure to erotica and aggressiveness.
(b) Explain the psychosocial consequences of crowding and high population density. Suggest appropriate policies to deal with the related problems in the Indian context.
(c) Critically describe the role of cultural assimilation in facilitating/hindering social integration in India. Illustrate with a suitable example.
8. (a) Discuss the relationship between sex-role stereotyping, self-fulfilling prophecy, and the glass ceiling effect in Indian society.
(b) What role can psychologists play in promoting the psychological well-being of defense personnel in the context of prolonged deprivation and stressful conditions?
(c) Explain the interrelationship among achievement motivation, entrepreneurial behavior, and economic development. Discuss critically whether achievement motivation can be enhanced through training. Cite relevant Indian studies.
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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