Physically, what is a pseudoreal representation?

There are three kinds of representations: real, complex, and pseudoreal. A complex representation is not equivalent to its conjugate, and a real one is, which is pretty straightforward. A pseudoreal representation is also equivalent to its conjugate, but the change of basis matrix that relates them has some funny properties. (Note that these definitions are independent of the terms 'real' and 'complex' in math; all representations in quantum mechanics are 'complex' in the math sense.)

There's a clear physical meaning of a complex representation, i.e. that particles that transform in these representations are not the same as their antiparticles. But I can't find any simple physical meaning for pseudoreality that distinguishes it from reality; it looks to me to be a fairly arbitrary distinction and I don't even know why we would want to make that distinction on mathematical grounds. How should I think about reality and pseudoreality physically?

• Mathematically speaking, all representations of a group $G$ are defined the same way, $\pi: G \rightarrow Aut V$. So the reps you're referring to must be to additional conditions over and above the general definition of a rep. Commented Jan 18, 2018 at 21:10
• The standard prototype for applications is all reps of $SU(2)$ being pseudoreal, which dictate the vanishing of anomalies for it--the symmetric $d$-coeffs in the Lie algebra vanish. Perhaps you'd find a satisfactory meaning in this. Commented Jan 19, 2018 at 1:18

Both real and pseudoreal representations are isomorphic to their conjugates. This isomorphy forces the existence of an equivariant anti-linear map $$J : V \to V,$$ where $$V$$ is the representation space, which simply is the isomorphism $$\phi : V\to V^\ast$$ concatenated with complex conjugation.
Such an equivariant map necessarily squares to a multiple of the identity by Schur's lemma, i.e. $$J^2 = c\cdot \mathrm{id}_V$$ for some $$c\in \mathbb{R}$$. If $$c>0$$, then $$J$$ is a real form and the representation is real, if $$c<0$$, then $$J$$ is a quaternionic form and the representation is pseudoreal = quaternionic.
You can reduce a real representation to a literal representation on a real vector space, i.e. restrict the representation to the subspace with $$J(v) = v$$, i.e. the complex representation $$V$$ splits naturally into the direct sum of two real representations $$V=V_{\mathbb{R}}\oplus \mathrm{i}V_{\mathbb{R}}$$. This is e.g. what Majorana spinors are.