IAS Mains Psychology 2020 Topic-wise Important Questions

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Introduction to Psychology

  1. Psychology is Natural as well as Social Science. Discuss(200 words)

Psychological Measurement of Individual Differences

  1. Discuss on Misuses of Intelligence Tests?(200 words)


  1. Differentiate b/w learning and training. Discuss Pavlovian learning theory.

  2. Not all phobias are learnt. They may also depend on genetic predispositions. Elaborate.

  3. Comment on impact of immediate and delayed reinforcement on learning. Which among these is most effective and why?

  4. Forgetting is natural, while extinction is experimentally induced. Elaborate.

  5. What is the relation b/w discrimination learning and generalization?

  6. Explain the phenomenon of transition. How is it explained by relational theory?

  7. How does Pavlovian conditioning differ from Skinnerian type? What is nature and role of reinforcement in both types?

  8. What is S-R conditioning and how is it different from S-S and R-S conditioning. Explain with examples.

  9. Escape learning is direct analogue of reward training. Explain.

  10. Explain why some people tend to give in face of adversity, while others remain resilient?

  11. Evaluate various uses of operant conditioning in shaping human behaviour.

  12. What is the role of modelling in learning? Is any intimation a part of modelling mechanism? How does modelling play a role in increasing rape culture in today’s society?

  13. Explain how operant conditioning can be used to establish behaviour which is not spontaneously emitted by an organism.

  14. Discuss the scope of programmed learning in curriculum of certain courses for students.

  15. How do latent learning, insight and imitation differ from each other?

  16. Show how self-efficacy and outcome judgments influence process of social learning.

  17. Give examples of instrumental reward conditioning and instrumental aversive conditioning.

  18. Operational definitions of learning facilitate scientist’s activity. Discuss.

  19. How would you process information for long term usage?

  20. Discuss the role of repression and interference in forgetting/.

  21. What is reminiscence? Discuss in terms of interference process.

  22. Evaluate 2 process theories of memory.


  1. Compare Chomsky’s innate mechanism view and skinner’s view on language development.

  2. State and critically evaluate Slobin’s cognitive theory of language development

  3. Which is more satisfactory explanation for language development – brain maturation or reinforcement? Substantiate your answer.

  4. Describe how critical period hypothesis explains process of language acquisition

  5. Comment on Chomsky’s theory of transformational generative grammar and its later modifications.

  6. “It’s an art to be an effective communicator. Comment. (200 words)

  7. How Self-Awareness Leads to Effective Communication? (200 words)

  8. Comment on Rogers’s concept of fully functioning person and Maslow’s notion of self-actualization. (200 Words)

  9. Describe effective methods of communication with suitable examples. (200 Words)

Thinking, Problem Solving

  1. What is non directive thinking? Discuss different dimensions of thought processes in relation to concept and creativity.

  2. Explain scanning and focusing strategies in concept attainment.

  3. Can the cybernetic model of behaviour explain problem solving behaviour?

  4. Discuss role of set in thinking with experimental evidences. Do mental sets guarantee correct thinking?

  5. What is information processing analysis of thinking? Cite recent experimental evidences in this context.

Sensation, Attention and Perception

  1. Explain the concept of perceptual organization? What are the processes which influence it?

  2. Perception of size is explained from visual angel perspective. Evaluate its adequacy?

  3. What is sensory adaptation? Explain with examples.

  4. What is perceptual organisation? What processes influence it? (200 Words)

  5. “Heredity sets the limits and environment provides opportunities to reach that limit”. Discuss (200 Words)


  1. What are the big 5 factors in personality. Critically examine their conceptual basis.

  2. Is personality consistent? Support with relevant empirical studies.

  3. Man as viewed from the perspective of a humanistic psychologist.

Motivation and Emotion

  1. ‘Motivation is a goal directed behavior’ discuss by enumerating various steps involved in motivation process.

  2. Evaluate the drive reduction theory of motivation. Has it any relevance to homeostasis?

  3. What is the concept of economic motive? Discuss its influence on behaviour

  4. Discuss the role of cognition in experiencing emotion in light of various experimental studies.

  5. Is it correct to state that the theoretical conceptualization of achievement motivation is not adequate enough to describe the economic development of India?

  6. State and evaluate drive reduction theory of motivation. has it any relevance to homeostasis?

  7. Discuss the Psychological problems faced by a Person before committing suicide? ”What Solutions can you recommend to overcome the problems? (200 words)

Therapeutic Approaches

  1. Describe in which way the eastern traditional wisdom has contributed to dealing with psychological illnesses?

  2. Comment on limits of psycho-therapeutic approaches

  3. Discuss salient features of behaviour therapy. Comment on its applicability to the Indian community.

  4. write a note on assumptions underlying client centered therapies and their evaluation

Economic Psychology

  1. Is there a motivational syndrome associated with agro-economic development? Discuss?

  2. Comment on effectiveness of training programs for developing entrepreneurship and achievement motivation

  3. Discuss the psychological perspective concerning consumer rights and consumer courts

  4. Identify true characteristics of an entrepreneur. Discuss wrt Mc Clelland’s assumptions.

  5. How can you motivate people to achieve?

  6. What is entrepreneur syndrome? How do environmental and family set-up determine the emergence of this syndrome?

Developmental Psychology

  1. Briefly suggest how the wellbeing of adolescents can be promoted – especially in the increasing stressed social environment.

  2. How can biological aging be modified with help of environmental factors?

  3. Bring out the differences in concepts of growth, maturation and development in human behavior. Use suitable examples in your answers.

  4. Khap panchayats oppose the same gotra marriages. What are the psychological constructs that explain their behaviour?

  5. Critically examine the notion of life-span development. determine the impact of cultural factors in child rearing practices

  6. Is aggression an innate tendency or an externally elicited behaviour? Explain with suitable examples.

Modern Contemporary Psychology

  1. What is REM sleep, and how is it related to dreaming?

  2. ‘Computer program is the artificial intelligence’. explain

  3. Explain meditation and how far is it useful today for therapeutic purpose

Issues and Perspectives in Modern Psychology

  1. Explain theory of Psycho-cybernetics? (400 Words)

Environmental Psychology

  1. “Environmental Factors are responsible for increasing Urban crime” comment (400 Words)

  2. What is Autism? Discuss the Psychological Problems face by People have Autism Disorder? (200 words)

  3. “Carbon dioxide does not just cause global climate change, but human mental change”. Comment. (200 words)

Development of Human Behaviour

  1. “Digital Devises affect the development of Infants/Adults”. Elucidate(200 words)

  2. Discuss the role of Genetic and environmental factors in determining human behavior. cite findings of related studies in support to your answer.(250 words)

  3. “Attitude Determines human behavior ” .discuss (400 Words)

  4. Parents are responsible for their kid development. Do u agree with the above statement? Evaluate your stance

  5. Biological process, social-emotional process, cognitive process are interwoven. Analyze the statement

  6. “Increasing number of suicides is a big social menace “. Discuss the factors which are responsible for this trend and suggest measures to contain this problem.

  7. “You are the Class Teacher and certain students of your class are mischievous” .suggest a Behavior modification plan for such students? (200 words)

  8. “Loneliness and Depression goes hand in hand” Comment. (200 words)

  9. What are major issues involved in the process of development?

  10. List out the characteristics of life span development

  11. Differentiate between secure and insecure patterns of attachments. (200 Words)

  12. What factors contribute in psycho-social development of Children? (200 Words)

  13. Explain eight stages of personality of Erik Erikson. (300 Words)

  14. Which developmental task, you think, is the most difficult duringearly adulthood and why? (300 Words)

  15. Find the difference between biological and psychological ageing. (300 Words)

Media Influences on Pro and Antisocial Behavior

  1. “Increasing use of Smart Phones is hampering human happiness”. Discuss (200 Words)

Introduction to Psychology

  1. Comment on different trends of psychology in 21st century?(200 Words)

  2. discuss the ethical issues involve in psychological tests?(200 Words)

  3. ” Psychology is a Science “comment (200 words)

  4. Mention Different types of Psychological tests. Discuss its uses, misuses and limitations (400 words )

Methods of Psychology

  1. How focused group discussion differs from grounded theory approach and brain storming?(200 words)

  2. How experimental designs differ from non-experimental and quasi experimental designs? (250 words)

Psychological Wellbeing and Mental Disorders

  1. What do you mean by positive health? Suggest some important factors responsible for it?(250 words)

  2. Discuss different types of Personality Disorders?(300 words)

Research Methods

  1. Discuss how IRT Method differs from Classical Test Theory? (200 Words)

Work Psychology and Organizational Behavior

  1. Evaluate the applications of Porter -Lawler theory and Adam Equity theory in modern organization?(200 words)

  2. Motivation is determine by surrounding work culture. comment

  3. Love jihad has been in news recently. What psychological constructs would explain the behavior of people waging ‘Love Jihad’? Critically examine. (200 Words)

Sports Psychology

  1. Discuss the mental Problems faced by an Individual who is not been able to Perform well in high Profile Game? What Solutions can be recommended to improve his Performance? (200 words)

Application of Psychology in Other Field: Military Psychology

  1. Discuss different types of Stress faced by Military People? (200 words)

  2. How military psychologists help the people in military to recover from stress? (200 words)

Application of Psychology in Information Technology and Mass Media

  1. “Increasing use of Social Websites is hampering Mental Health “. Examine. (200 words)

  2. What is Artificial Intelligence? How this method can be used to treat loneliness and depression? (200 words)

Psychology of Gender

  1. Evaluate the Contribution of Psychology in dealing with the issue of gender discrimination? (200 words)

  2. Explain why individuals are motivated to undertake terrorist activities? (200 words)

Psychology of Terrorism

  1. Explain why individuals are motivated to undertake terrorist activities? (200 words)

Attitudes, Values and Interests

  1. “Drugs themselves are not necessarily the cause of addiction”. Comment. (200 words)

Cognitive Psychology

  1. Describe the major historical schools of psychological thought leading up to the development of cognitive psychology. (300 Words)

  2. Write short notes on contribution of following Psychologists. (150 Words)

a) Neisserb) Hermann Ebbinghausc) Edward Tolmand) Frederick Bartlette) Wilhelm Wundt, Edward Titchener & Oswald KĂźlpef) Francis Galtong) F.C. Donders & James Cattell


  1. Explain Anterograde and retrograde amnesia. (100 Words)

  2. What is working memory? Explain. (250 Words)

  3. What are the difference between convergent and divergent thinking? Which according to you is superior in creativity? Support your argument. (250 Words)

  4. Comment on motivated forgetting. (100 Words)

Psychological Wellbeing

  1. Difference between OCD & OCPD – (150 Words)

  2. What are the causes and symptoms of depression? (250 Words)