UPSC Psychology Syllabus 2019 (Notes PDF UPSC Mains)

UPSC Psychology Syllabus 2019 (UPSC Mains Psychology Syllabus and also Hindi Books, Notes and Question Papers) : Download UPSC Psychology Syllabus in PDF for the upcoming year updated as per recent official notifications from the Central UPSC Exams Board. Psychology  is scientific study of the human mind and its functions, especially those affecting behaviour in a given context. The overall UPSC Psychology Syllabus for 2019 has been officially released recently and we have provided below the updated details on that. UPSC Syllabus for Prelims consists of topics such as Current Affairs, Psychology, Indian Polity etc. With Proper preparation, UPSC Psychology Syllabus can be easily taken over to the perfection.

Details of UPSC Psychology Syllabus 2019

UPSC Scope Two Sections
UPSC Psychology Syllabus Download
Psychology Syllabus Subtopics Fourteen
Preparation Time 216 Hours

Foreword on UPSC Psychology Syllabus

There has been a common misconception among the students that UPSC Psychology Syllabus is a hard nut to crack and its better to leave it as an optional paper. You are absolutely wrong.

Even through the Psychology Syllabus portion in UPSC looks very huge and hard to study, once you start reading through few chapters, you will come to an absolute conclusion that UPSC Psychology Syllabus is one of the most interesting and easiest of all the papers in entire UPSC Syllabus.

5 Reasons for Choosing UPSC Psychology

  1. Scientific nature of the subject makes it interesting and logical as an optional
  2. Ample scope for explanation in the exam with the help of real life examples
  3. You can relate to it while preparing on so many levels
  4. Easy availability of good books (both foreign and Indian authors) and notes (I recommend Mukul Pathak notes).
  5. Easy availability of Guidance (If you want to go for it)

UPSC Psychology Syllabus 2019

Introduction : 

  1. Definition of Psychology
  2. Historical antecedents of Psychology and trends in the 21st century
  3. Psychology and scientific methods
  4. Psychology in relation to other social sciences and natural sciences
  5. Application of Psychology to societal problems.

Methods of Psychology

  1. Types of research: Descriptive, evaluative, diagnostic and prognostic
  2. Methods of Research: Survey, observation, case-study and experiments
  3. Characteristics of experimental design and non- experimental design, Quasi-experimental designs
  4. Focussed group discussions, brain storming, grounded theory approach.

UPSC Psychology Syllabus UPSC Psychology Syllabus UPSC Mains Books Notes

Development of Human Behaviour

  1. Growth and development
  2. Principles of development, Role of genetic and environmental factors in determining human behaviour
  3. Influence of cultural factors in socialization
  4. Life span development Characteristics, development tasks, promoting psychological well-being across major stages of the life span.

Sensation, Attention and Perception

  1. Sensation: concepts of threshold, absolute and difference thresholds, signal-detection and vigilance
  2. Factors influencing attention including set and characteristics of stimulus
  3. Definition and concept of perception, biological factors in perception
  4. Perceptual organization-influence of past experiences, perceptual defence-factors influencing space and depth perception, size estimation and perceptual readiness
  5. The plasticity of perception
  6. Extrasensory perception
  7. Culture and perception, Subliminal perception.


  1. Concept and theories of learning (Behaviourists, Gestaltalist and Information processing models)
  2. The Processes of extinction, discrimination and generalization
  3. Programmed learning, probability learning, self- instructional learning, concepts
  4. Types and the schedules of reinforcement, escape, avoidance and punishment, modeling and social learning.


  1. Encoding and remembering
  2. Short term memory, Long term memory, Sensory memory, Iconic memory, Echoic memory: The Multistore model, levels of processing
  3. Organization and Mnemonic techniques to improve memory
  4. Theories of forgetting: decay, interference and retrieval failure
  5. Metamemory
  6. Amnesia: Anterograde and retrograde.

Thinking and Problem Solving

  • Piaget’s theory of cognitive development
  • Concept formation processes
  • Information processing, Reasoning and problem solving,
  • Recent trends.

Motivation and Emotion

  1. Psychological and physiological basis of motivation and emotion
  2. Measurement of motivation and emotion
  3. Effects of motivation and emotion on behaviour
  4. Extrinsic and intrinsic motivation
  5. Factors influencing intrinsic motivation
  6. Emotional competence and the related issues


  1. Definition and concept of personality
  2. Theories of personality (psychoanalytical, sociocultural, interpersonal, developmental, humanistic, behaviouristic, trait and type approaches)
  3. Measurement of personality (projective tests, pencil-paper test)
  4. The Indian approach to personality
  5. Training for personality development
  6. Latest approaches like big 5 factor theory
  7. The notion of self in different traditions

Strategy to Prepare UPSC Psychology Syllabus 2019

UPSC Psychology Syllabus is quite an interesting optional not only at the face of it but also when u are deep into it. It has tremendous applicability not only in daily life and to manage one’s own self, shape one’s personality, attitudes, behaviour but also in administration.

In a nutshell i have realized that wherever there is human involvement, psychology as a study of behaviour and mental processes has a role to play.

Now the revised UPSC Psychology Syllabus talks about Attitude, Emotional Intelligence, Aptitude which are staight out of the syllabus of Psychology.

Psychology aids in the understanding of social issues like Communal violence, Juvenile delinquency, Voilence of all forms against women to name a few.

UPSC Psychology Syllabus also aids in essays, personality test. Hence it’s a nice optional to take with multiple interlinkages with various stages of this examination as well as portions of GS syllabus.

Also See Syllabus Details of Other Courses like:

UPSC Anthropology Syllabus UPSC Psychology Syllabus
GATE AE Syllabus CFA Level 1 Syllabus
FRM Level 1 Syllabus CS Professional Syllabus

Conclusion : UPSC Psychology Syllabus

It is always said that the wise men words are often neglected. However, we would like to again stress the fact that the Psychology Syllabus in UPSC is one of the most important and crucial things that has to be properly taken care of.

Not just for examination point of view, Psychology Syllabus in UPSC helps you in the overal development to become a good responsible officer who will play a crucial role in the development of the country in the decades to come.

Psychology can be a good optional if you are extremely brilliant at it but I do have a few problems. Psychology is not going to help an ias in any possible way.

Upsc may remove optionals in coming years.mind you its not a rumour but actual happening in near future.

If readers have any further doubts on UPSC Psychology Syllabus, you can drop us a mail or even post your question below on our comments section.