Psychology (Textbook for Class XI)
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Psychology (Textbook for Class XI)

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Item Code: NAN379
Publisher: National Council of Educational Research And Training
Language: English
Edition: 2017
ISBN: 9788174505064
Pages: 211 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 11.0 inch X 8.5 inch
Weight 440 gm


Psychology is one of the youngest sciences but one of the fastest growing. There are many who believe that the 21st century is going to be the century of biological sciences along with psychological sciences. Development in the fields of neurosciences, as well as physical sciences have opened new doors to solve the mysteries of mind and human behaviour. There is no human endeavour which is going to remain unaffected by this new knowledge which is getting created. One only hopes that it will enable people to live their lives more meaningfully and to organtse human systems better. In fact, as a consequence a large number of new job opportunities have surfaced. Psychology already has made inroads into many new domains.

The writing of this textbook has been truly a collective effort. It has benefitted from the inputs received from various subject experts in various forms, from college and school teachers and also students. In writing this textbook. we have tried to address some of the concerns raised by the evaluators of the previous edition of this textbook while also making use of some portions of it. The textbook follows the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) - 2005. In keeping with the general guidelines, we have tried to reduce the load and attempted to make it more comprehensible for the students. In doing so, we have tried to relate psychological concepts with everyday human behaviour and also with various life experiences. How far one has succeeded in this, is left for the teachers and students to judge. One major challenge which teachers of psychology face is to make their students analyse human behaviour in a scientific manner and to use explanations which are not commonsensical. More than any other scientific discipline psychology runs the risk of trivialisation. It is our hope that students who go through this course will develop a proper scientific attitude for analysing others and their own behaviour and use it for personal growth.

We take great pleasure in placing this textbook in the hands of students and teachers and also express our gratitude to all who have provided their unstinted support in its writing and production.


The National Curriculum Framework (NCF), 2005 recommends that children's life at school must be linked to their life outside the school. This principle marks a departure from the legacy of bookish learning which continues to shape our system and causes a gap between the school, home and community. The syllabi and textbooks developed on the 'basis of NCF signify an attempt to implement this basic idea. They also attempt to discourage rote learning and the maintenance of sharp boundaries between different subject areas. We hope these measures will take us significantly further in the direction of a child-centred system of education outlined in the National Policy on Education (1986).

The success of this effort depends on the steps that school principals and teachers will take to encourage children to reflect on their own learning and to pursue imaginative, activities and questions. We must recognise that given space, time and freedom, children generate new knowledge by engaging with the information passed on to them by adults. Treating the prescribed textbook as the sole basis of examination is one of the key reasons why other resources and sites of learning are ignored. Inculcating creativity and initiative is possible if we perceive and treat children as participants in learning, not as receivers of a fixed body f knowledge.

These aims imply considerable change in school routines and mode of functioning. Flexibility in the daily time-table is as necessary as rigour in implementing the annual calendar so that the required number of teaching days are actually devoted to teaching. The methods used for teaching and evaluation will also determine how effective this textbook proves for making children's life at school a happy experience, rather than a source of stress or boredom. Syllabus designers have tried to address the problem of curricular burden by restructuring and reorienting knowledge at different stages' with greater consideration for child psychology and the time available for teaching. The textbook attempts to enhance this endeavour by giving higher priority and space to opportunities for contemplation and wondering, discussion in small groups, and activities requiring hands-on experience.

The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) appreciates the hard work done by the Textbook Development Committee responsible for this textbook. We wish to thank the Chairperson of the advisory group of Social Sciences, Professor Hari Vasudevan (Department of History, Calcutta University, Kolkata) and the Chief Advisor for !his textbook, Professor R.C. Tripathi (Director, G.B. Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad) for guiding the work of this committee. Several teachers contributed to the development of this textbook: we are grateful to their principals for making this possible. We are indebted to the institutions and organisations which have generously permitted us to draw upon their resources, material and personnel. We are especially grateful to the members of the National Monitoring Committee appointed by the Department of Secondary and Higher Education. Ministry of Human Resource Development under the Chairpersonship of Professor Mrinal Miri and Professor G.P. Deshpande, for their valuable time and contribution. As an organisation committed to the systemic reform and continuous improvement in the quality of its products, NCERT welcomes comments and suggestions which will enable us to undertake further revision and refinement.


You were, perhaps, asked by your teacher in the first class why you opted for psychology over other subjects. What do you hope to learn? If you were asked this question, what was your response? Generally, the range of responses which surface in class to this question are truly bewildering. Most students give inane responses, like they want to know what others are thinking. But then one also comes across such responses as knowing oneself, knowing others or more specific responses like knowing why people dream, why people go out oj their way to help others or beat each other up. All ancient traditions have engaged themselves with questions about human nature. The Indian philosophical traditions, in particular, deal with questions relating to why people behave in the manner in which they do. Why are people generally unhappy? What changes should they bring about in themselves if they desire happiness in their lives. Like all knowledge, psychological knowledge too is intended to contribute to human well-being. If the world is full of misery, it is largely due to humans themselves. Perhaps, you have asked why a 9/11 or war in Iraq happened. Why innocent people in Delhi, Mumbai, Srinagar or in the North-East have to face bombs and bullets? Psychologists ask what is in the experiences of young men which turn them into terrorists seeking revenge. But there is another side to human nature. You may have heard the name of Major HPS Ahluwalia, paralysed waist down because of an injury he suffered in a war with Pakistan, who climbed the Mt. Everest. What moved him to climb such heights? These are not only questions about human nature which psychology addresses as a human science. You will be surprised to learn that modem psychology also deals with somewhat nebulous micro-level phenomenon like consciousness, focusing attention in the face of noise, or supporters trying to bum down a shopping complex after their team had scored victory in a football game over its traditional rival. Psychology cannot claim that answers have been found to these complex questions. But it surely has improved upon our understanding and how we make sense of these phenomena. The most striking aspect of the discipline, unlike other sciences, lies in the study of psychological processes which are largely internal and available to humans for observation within themselves.

What is Psychology?

Any knowledge discipline is hard to define. Firstly, because it evolves continuously. Secondly, because the range of phenomena it studies cannot be captured by anyone definition. This is even more true of psychology. Long time back, students like yourself were told that the term psychology is derived from two Greek words psyche meaning soul and logos meaning science or study of a subject. Thus, psychology was a study of the soul or mind. But since then it has moved away considerably from this focus and established itself as a scientific discipline which deals with processes underlying human experience and behaviour. The range of phenomena it studies, some of which we mentioned above, are spread over several levels, viz. individual, dyadic (two person) group, and organisational. They also have biological as well as social bases. Naturally therefore, the methods required to study them also vary greatly depending on the phenomenon one wants to study. A discipline is defined both in terms of what it studies and how it studies. In fact more in terms of how or method/s it uses. Keeping this in view, psychology is defined formally as a science which studies mental• processes, experiences and behaviour in different contexts. In doing so it uses methods of biological and social sciences to obtain data systematically. It makes sense of these data so that they. can be organised as knowledge. Let us try to understand the three terms used in the definition namely mental processes experience and behaviour.

When we say experiences are internal to the experiencing person we refer to states of consciousness or awareness or mental processes. We use our mental processes when we think or try to solve a problem to know or remember something. One level at which these mental processes are reflected is the brain activity. As we think or solve a mathematical problem our brain activities can be observed using different techniques of brain imaging. However. we cannot say that brain activities and mental processes are the same although they are interdependent. Mental activities and neural activities are mutually overlapping processes but they are not identical. Unlike the brain the mind does not have a physical structure or has a location. Mind emerges and evolves as our interactions and experiences in this world get dynamically organised in the form of a system which is responsible for the occurrence of various mental processes. Brain activities provide important clues to how our mind functions. But the consciousness of our own experiences and mental processes are much more than the neural or brain activities. Even when we are asleep some mental activities go on. We dream and receive some information such as a knock on the door while we are asleep. Some psychologists have shown that we also learn and remember in our sleep. Mental processes, such as remembering learning knowing perceiving feeling are of interest to psychologists. They study these processes trying to understand how the mind works and to help us improve the uses and applications of these mental capacities.

Psychologists also study experiences of people. Experiences are subjective in nature. We cannot directly observe or know someone else's experience. Only the experiencing person can be aware or be conscious of her or his experiences. Thus experiences are embedded in our awareness or consciousness. Psychologists have focused on experiences of pain being undergone by terminally ill patients or of psychological pain felt in bereavement besides experiences which lead to positive feelings such as in romantic encounters. There are some esoteric experiences also which attract attention of psychologists such as when a Yogi meditates to enter a different level of consciousness and creates a new kind of experience or when a drug addict takes a particular kind of drug to get a high even though such drugs are extremely harmful. Experiences are influenced by internal and the external conditions of the experiencer. If you are travelling in a crowded bus during a hot summer day you may not experience the usual discomfort if you are going for a picnic with some close friends. Thus the nature of experience can only be understood by analysing a complex set of internal and external conditions.

Behaviours are responses or reactions we make or activities we engage in. When something is hurled at you your eyes blink in a simple reflex action. You are taking an examination and can feel your heart pounding. You decide to go for a particular movie with a friend. Behaviours may be simple or complex short or enduring. Some behaviours are overt. They can be outwardly seen or sensed by an observer. Some are internal or covert: When you are in a difficult situation while playing a game of chess you almost feel your hand muscles twitching trying to experiment with a move. All behaviours, covert or overt are associated with or triggered by some stimulus in the environment or changes that happen internally. You may see a tiger and run or think that there is a tiger and decide to flee. Some psychologists study behaviour as an association between stimulus (S) and response (R). Both stimulus (S) and response (R). Both stimulus and response can be internal or external.



  Note for the Teachers ix
  Note for the Students xi
Chapter 1 What is Psychology? 1
Chapter 2 methods of Enquiry in Psychology 22
Chapter 3 The Bases of Human Behaviour 43
Chapter 4 Human Development 64
Chapter 5 Sensory, Attentional and Perceptual Processes 84
Chapter 6 Learning 107
Chapter 7 Human Memory 131
Chapter 8 Thinking 149
Chapter 9 Motivation and Emotion 169
  Glossary 188
  Suggested Readings 198

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