In general, there are three types of (complex) representations of a finite group . (A good reference for all this is Serre’s well-known book, **Linear representations of finite groups**.)

Let be an -dimensional irreducible representation of a finite group on a complex vector space . Let denote the character of .

Exactly one of the following possibilities must hold:

- One of the values of the character is not real. Such representations will be called
**complex**(or*type 1*or*unitary*). - All the values of are real and is realizable by a representation over a real vector space. Such representations will be called
**real**(or*type 2*or*orthogonal*). - All the values of are real but is not realizable by a representation over a real vector space. Such representations will be called
**quaternionic**(or*type 3*or*symplectic*).

Proposition (Frobenius-Schur): Let be an irreducible representation of a finite group on a complex vector space with character $\chi$. Then

This quantity is sometimes called the **Frobenius-Schur indicator** of .

It can be shown that if are equivalent representations then and have the same type.

In the next post we will examine the types that the irreducible representations of semi-direct product fall into.