CBSE-2016 Syllabus for Psychology Classes XI and XII

Psychology is introduced as an elective subject at the higher secondary stage of school education. As a discipline, psychology specializes in the study of experiences, behaviours and mental processes of human beings within a socio-cultural and socio-historical context. This course purports to introduce the learners to the basic ideas, principles and methods in psychology so as to enable them to understand themselves and their social world better. The emphasis is put on creating interest and exposure needed by learners to develop their own knowledge base and understanding.

The course deals with psychological knowledge and practices which are contextually rooted. It emphasizes the complexity of behavioural processes and discourages simplistic cause-effect thinking. This is pursued by encouraging critical reasoning, allowing students to appreciate the role of cultural factors in behaviour, and illustrating how biology and experience shape behaviour. The course while developing an appreciation of subjectivity, also focuses on multiplicity of worldviews.

It is suggested that the teaching-learning processes should involve students in evolving their own understanding. Therefore, teaching of psychology should be based on the use of case studies, narratives, experiential exercises, analysis of common everyday experiences, etc.

The present effort at reforming and updating the syllabus is based on the feedback received from the teachers and students as well as some new educational and curricular concerns such as, the curriculum load, interdisciplinary approach, issues related to gender parity, concerns of special and marginalised groups, peace and environmental concerns, and inculcating citizenship values.


  1. To develop appreciation about human behaviour and human mind in the context of learners'immediate society and environment.
  2. To develop in learners an appreciation of multidisciplinary nature of psychological knowledge and its application in various aspects of life.
  3. To enable learners to become perceptive, socially aware and self-reflective.
  4. To facilitate studentS'quest for personal growth and effectiveness, and to enable them to become responsive and responsible citizens.

Class XI (Theory) 3 Hours and 70 Marks

Unitwise weightage



Introduction to Psychology

08 Marks

Methods of Psychology

09 Marks

The Bases of Human Behaviour

08 Marks

Human Development

07 Marks

Sensory and Perceptual Processes

08 Marks


08 Marks

Human Memory

08 Marks

Language and thought

07 Marks

Motivation and Emotion

07 Marks

Practicals (Projects, experiments, small studies)

30 Marks

Foundations of Psychology (90 Periods) Unit I: Introduction to Psychology-08 Marks (16 Periods)

The unit seeks to help understanding and appreciating psychology as a discipline, its applications and relationships with other sciences through appropriate and interesting examples and analysis of everyday experiences.

Nature of psychology; Basic concepts: Person, States of Consciousness: Sleep and Wakefulness and altered States of Consciousness, Behaviour and Experience: Similarities and variations in psychological attributes; Evolution of the discipline of psychology; Developments in psychology in India; Psychology and other disciplines; Linkages across psychological processes. Emerging perspectives: Evolutionary, cultural and positive psychologies.

Unit II: Methods of Psychology-09 Marks (20 Periods)

The objective of this unit is to familiarize with the methods of studying and understanding Qualitative method, psychological questions and issues.

Goals of psychological enquiry; Some important methods: Observation, Naturalistic, Experimental; Correlational study; Interview, Case study; Psychological tools: Tests, Questionnaires and gadgets; Qualitative Methods, Quantitative Analysis of data: Concepts and computation of the Measures of Central Tendency: Graphical Presentation of Data: Bar, Histogram, Polygon; Ethical issues in the study of psychological processes.

Unit III: The Bases of Human Behaviour-08 Marks (20 Periods)

This unit focuses on the role of biological and socio-cultural factors in the shaping of human behaviour and experience.

Evolutionary perspective on human behaviour; Biological and cultural roots; Nervous system and endocrine system: Structure and relationship of with behaviour and experience; Brain and behaviour, Role of Neurotransmitters in behaviour. Sleep and weakfulness. Genetic bases of behaviour; Culture andhumanbehaviour: Socialization, EnculturationandAcculturation; Globalization; Diversityandpluralism in the Indian context.

Unit IV: Human Development-07 Marks (16 Periods)

This unit deals with variations in development and the developmental tasks across the life span.

Meaning of development; Factors influencing development; Contexts of development; Overview of developmental stages: Prenatal development, Infancy, Childhood, Adolescence (particularly issues of identity, health, social participation and moral development), Adulthood and Old age.

Unit V: Sensory and Perceptual Processes8 Marks- (20 Periods)

This unit aims at understanding how various sensory stimuli are received, attended to and given meaning. Knowing the world; Nature of stimuli; Nature and functioning of sense modalities; Sensory Adaptation; Attention: Nature and determinants; Selective and sustained attention; Principles of perceptual organization; Role of perceiver, characteristics in perception; Pattern recognition; Perceptual phenomena: After images; Space Perception, Perceptual constancy, Illusions, Person perception; Socio-cultural influences on perception.

Unit VI: Learning-8 Marks (20 Periods)

This unit focuses on how human beings acquire new behaviour and how changes in behaviour take place. Nature of learning and learning curve: Paradigms of learnings: Classical and Operant Conditioning, Observational Learning, Cognitive learning, Verbal learning, Concept learning, skill-learning; Factors facilitating learning; Transfer of learning: Types andApplications, Learning styles: Learning disabilities; SomeApplications of learning principles.

Unit VII: Human Memory 8 Marks (20 Periods)

This unit deals with how information is received, stored, retrieved and lost. It will also discuss how memory can be improved. Nature of memory; Information ProcessingApproach; Levels of processing; Memory systems-Sensory memory, Short-term memory, Long-term memory; Knowledge representation and organisation in memory; Memory as a constructive process; memory and emotions; prospective memory; Nature and causes of forgetting; Enhancing memory; Brain and memory.

Unit VIII: Language and Thought-07 Marks (20Periods)

This unit deals with thinking and related processes like reasoning, problem-solving, decision making and creative thinking and relationship between thought and language.

Building blocks of thinking: Thought and language: Nature and interrrelationship; Stages of cognitive development: Introduction to the ideas of Piaget and Vygotsky, Development of language and language use; Reasoning: Problem-solving; Decision making; Creative thinking: Nature, process and development.

Unit IX: Motivation and Emotion-07 Marks (18 Periods)

This unit focuses on why human beings behave as they do. It also deals with how people experience positive and negative events and respond to them.

Human existence and nature of motivation; Biological needs; Social and psychological motives: Achievement, Affiliation and Power, Maslow's hierarchy of needs; Emerging concepts: Competence, Self efficacy and Intrinsic Motivation; Nature of emotions; Physiological, cognitive and cultural bases of emotions; Expression of emotions; Positive emotions: Happiness, Optimism, Empathy and Gratitude; Development of positive emotions; Managing negative emotions such as anger and fear.

Practicals (Projects, experiments, small studies, etc.) 30 Marks (60 Periods)

The students shall be required to undertake one project and conduct one experiments. The project would involve the use of different methods of enquiry and related skills. Practicals would involve conducting experiments and undertaking small studies, exercises, related to the topics covered in the course (e. g. Human development, Learning, Memory, Motivation, Perception, Attention and Thinking).

  1. Practical (Experiments) file
  2. 05 Marks
  3. Project File
  4. 05 Marks
  5. Viva Voce (Project and experiments)
  6. 05 Marks
  7. One experiment: (05 for conduct and 10 for reporting)
  8. 15 Marks

Class XII (Theory) One Paper 70 Marks

Unitwise weightage

Psychology, Self and Society



Intelligence andAptitude

09 Marks

Self and Personality

10 Marks

Human Strengths and meeting the Life Challenges

07 Marks

Psychological Disorders

10 Marks

TherapeuticApproaches and counselling.

07 Marks

Attitude and Social Cognition

08 Marks

Social Influence and Group Processes

07 Marks

Environmental and Social concerns

06 Marks

Applied Psychology

06 Marks

Practicals (Psychological testing, Case Profile etc.)

30 Marks

Psychology, Self and Society

Unit I: Intelligence and Aptitude-09 Marks (20 Periods)

The unit aims at studying how people differ with respect to intelligence and aptitude. Individual differences in intelligence: Theories of Intelligence; Culture and Intelligence; Emotional intelligence; Aptitude: Nature and types: Assessment of psychological attributes: Dynamic assessment.

Unit II: Self and Personality0 − 10 Marks (24 Periods)

This unit focuses on the study of self and personality in the context of different approaches in an effort to appraise the person. The assessment of personality will also be discussed.

Aspects of self: Self concept: Self-esteem and Self-regulation; Culture and self; Personality: Concept; Approaches to Personality: Type and Trait, Psychodynamic, Humanistic, Behavioural and Cultural; Assessment of Personality: Self-report Measures, Behavioural Analysis, and Projective Measures.

Unit III: Human Strengths and Meeting Life Challenges07 Marks (14 Periods)

This unit deals with the nature of stress and how responses to stress depend on an individual's appraisal of stressors. Strategies to cope with stress will also be dealt with:

Life challenges and adjustment; Concept of adaptation; Human strengths and virtues: Nature, types and effects on psychological functioning; Coping with stress; Concepts of health and well-being. Through life style changes.

Unit IV: Psychological Disorders-10 Marks (24 Periods)

This unit discusses the concepts of normality and abnormality and the major psychological disorders.

Concepts of abnormality and psychological disorder, Causal factors associated with abnormal behaviour, Classification of disorders, Major psychological disorders: Anxiety, Somato-form, Dissociative, Mood, Schizophrenic, Developmental and Behavioural, Substance Related.

Unit V: Therapeutic Approaches and counselling-07 Marks (20 Periods)

This unit discusses the goals, techniques and effectiveness of different approaches to treat psychological disorders.

Nature and process of therapy; Nature of therapeutic relationship; Types of therapies: Psycho-dynamic, Humanistic, Cognitive, Behaviour; Alternative therapies: Yoga, Meditation; Zen; Rehabilitation of mentally ill people. Counselling Prevention of mental disorders.

Unit VI: Attitude and Social Cognition-08 Marks (20 Periods)

This unit focuses on the formation and change of attitudes, cultural influences on attributional tendencies and conditions influencing pro-social behaviour. Explaining behaviour through attributions; Social cognition; Schemas and stereotypes; Impression formation; Nature and components of attitudes; Attitude formation and change; Behaviour in the presence of others; Pro-social Behaviour; Prejudice and discrimination; Strategies for handling prejudice.

Unit VII: Social Influence and Group Processes-07 Marks (22 Periods)

The unit deals with the concept of group, its functions and the dynamics of social influence process like conformity, obedience and compliance. Different conflict resolution strategies will also be discussed. Illustrations from Indian society context will be used.

Influence Processess: Nature of Conformity, Obedience, and Compliance; Cooperation and Competition; Groups: Nature, formation and types; Influences of group on individual behaviour; Social identity; Inter-Group Conflict; Conflict Resolution Strategies.

Unit VIII: Environmental and Social Concerns 06 Marks (18 Periods)

This unit focuses on the application of psychological understanding to some important social issues.

Human-environment relationship; Environmental effects on human behaviour. Noise, pollution, crowding, natural disasters, social issue: Aggression and Violence; Social Inequality and Poverty; Media and human values; Promoting pro-environmental behaviour, Human rights and citizenship; Peace

Unit IX: Applied Psychology. 06 Marks (18 Periods)

This unit introduces some of the important areas of application of psychology. Application of psychology to following areas:

  1. Sports
  2. Education
  3. Communication
  4. Organisation

Psychological testing Practicals-30 Marks (60 Periods)

The students shall be required to prepare one case profile and conduct 2 practicals related to the topics covered in the course. The case profile will include developmental history of the subject, using both qualitative (observation, interview) and quantitative (Psychological testing) approaches. Practicals would involve using standardised psychological assessment devices in different domains (e. g. Intelligence, personality, aptitude, adjustment, attitude, self-concept, and anxiety).

Distribution of Marks:

  1. Practical File-05 Marks
  2. Case Profile-05 Marks
  3. Viva Voice (Case profile and practical) -05 Marks
  4. Two practicals (5 for accurate conduct and 10 for reporting). 15 Marks
  5. Recommended text books:

    1. Psychology, Class XI, Published by NCERT
    2. Psychology, Class XII, Published by NCERT
    3. Supplementary Reading Material in Psychology for Classes XII and X available on the CBSE website
  6. Note: The above text books and reading material are also available in Hindi medium.