16 Psychic Functions that work well or not!

Psychic functions are elements created to understand the composition of a person’s functioning. When they perform properly, they are signs that contribute to satisfactory quality of life.

But, when they are in dysfunction, they are signs and / or symptoms that indicate quantitative and / or qualitative psychic illness.

According to Cheniaux (2017) and Dalgalarrondo (2019), we can have several different types of psychic functions, but which complement each other when performed.

They are details that are often imperceptible in a psychic assessment, so it is interesting to know a little and form the notion that in an assessment a lot of information is compiled.

The following is a summary with some examples for knowledge:

  1. Affection

Psychic states affected by pleasantness or unpleasantness, give color, brightness and warmth to experiences. They arise as a result of actions aimed at satisfying needs. They include emotions , feelings, passions and humor.

Changes can be several, for example:

  • Affective dullness, affection is distanced and / or impoverished;
  • Affective exaltation, increase in intensity or duration disproportionately to the situation or object that motivated the affection;
  • Affective lability, instability and difficulty in controlling frequent changes in affects.
  1. Appearance

Set of hygienic and aesthetic care related to the body.

Changes: appear careless, sloppy, appear bizarre, exhibitionist, have compromised body hygiene.

  1. Attention

It is the process of directing Consciousness internally or externally, it assists you in selecting and maintaining the concentration of mental activity on something.


  • Hypoprosexia, decreased attention activity reaching tenacity (ability to concentrate, maintain attention) and mobility (ability to divert attention to different things);
  • Rigidity of attention or distraction, there is a high capacity for concentration, to maintain attention generating inattention to other things not focused at the moment;
  • Lability of attention or distraction, an instability with a high capacity to divert attention to different things with an inability to fixate on something that requires effort.
  1. Attitude or Behavior

It covers speech, gestures, mimics and other body movements.

Alterations: there can be many attitudes of the non-cooperative, opposition, flight, plaintiff, arrogant, invasive, inhibited, ironic, manipulative, seductive, submissive and etc.

  1. Consciousness

Internal and current, reflective experience, the sum total of conscious experiences, makes a distinction between the self / self and the non-self. Intentionally integrates all mental processes at a given moment.

It can be understood as surveillance, that is, a state of activation, lucidity, alertness with the clear sensorium.

Changes are diverse, examples:

  • Loss of awareness of the continuity of the action itself, feeling that when acting it is another person or other force that takes the initiative;
  • Eat, the complete absence of consciousness;
  • Autopsychic disorientation, a decrease or loss of awareness of self identity.
  1. Intelligence

Ability to use metacognitive processes to understand, elaborate and evaluate intellectual contents that aim to achieve and adapt efficiently, satisfactory solutions. It can be understood as a composite function.

Changes: intellectual deficit due to poor development or intellectual deterioration.

  1. Imagination

This function is linked to abstract images and ideas, creating new concepts, connections between representations and pre-existing concepts.

Changes: fantastic pseudology or pathological lie (reports of fantastic and heroic heroic stories created with the intent to impress).

  1. Language

They make social communication happen, the expression of internal experiences, organize sensory experience and mental processes, transmit knowledge and regulate behaviors. It is part of the psychic thinking function.

Changes can be many, examples:

  • Agraphia, inability to write;
  • Alexia, inability to read;
  • Mutism, absence of speech;
  1. Memory

It is the storage of knowledge and experiences through fixation, conservation and evocation.

It can also distinguish people by the types of memories they carry (psychological, genetic, immunological and cultural).

Changes can be of several types, such as:

  1. Anterograde amnesia, inability to form new long-term memories;
  2. Retrograde amnesia, inability to evoke events prior to their appearance;
  3. Anterograde hypermnesia, exaggerated capacity to store new information;
  4. Retrograde hypermnesia, excess of memories in a short time.
  5. Orientation

Ability to situate oneself in relation to oneself and the environment, experience of time and space, the result of apprehension among themselves and the perceptions to assign meanings to the context.

It is a product of the integration of various psychic functions.

Changes are diverse, such as:

  • Amnestic disorientation, impairment in recent memory that does not allow fixing information;
  • Confused disorientation, impairment of consciousness that generates dysfunction in attention, concentration, recent and working memory and even in the apprehension and integration of reality;
  • False delusional orientation, false orientation arising from ideas and thoughts that do not match reality.
  1. Thought

A resource for reasoning, anticipating, examining and pondering something, thinking is the construction of models of reality, concepts, judgments and simulation.


  • Course, can be accelerated, slowed or interrupted;
  • Form, can be escape of ideas (rapid variations of themes), disintegration of thought (actions of ideas are incomprehensible to the listener), prolixity (exaggeration in irrelevant details), thoroughness (excess of relevant details), perseveration (fixation on a theme with impoverishment of associative processes and loss of flexibility);
  • Content, can be of the type concretism (poor, abstract speech), delusional ideas (or delusions, are pathologically false convictions, with impossible content), and overvalued (an erroneous idea due to affective overestimation).
  1. Psychomotricity

They are bodily movements, actions that have psychological content, done consciously and voluntarily for a purpose. They are part of the volitional psychic function.

Changes are many, examples:

  • Stupor, abolition of voluntary movements;
  • Hyperkinesia, pathological increase in voluntary movement;
  • Stereotypes, actions devoid of purpose and meaning.
  1. Pragmatism

Ability to accomplish what you want or planned, behavior directed to the goal. It is a way of measuring the joint performance of psychic functions.

Changes: hypopragmatism (decrease) or apragmatism (abolition).

  1. Prospecting

Planning your own life, reflecting the expectation of your future.

Changes: formulation of absurd, pessimistic, destructive plans.

  1. Sensoperception

First contact of knowledge of the external world, it generates the environmental information necessary for survival. The sensation is a phenomenon resulting from the alterations produced by external stimuli on the sensory organs.

Perception is a conscious phenomenon that results from the integration of partial sensory impressions and the association of these representations.

Changes can be many, the most frequent follow:

  • Hyperesthesia or hyperperception, increased perceptual intensity;
  • Hypoesthesia or hypoperception, decreased perceptual intensity;
  • Illusion, an object serves as a stimulus for the perception of something else;
  • Hallucination, perception of something without the presence of an object that stimulates;
  1. Will

Set of psychic activities directed to action, includes the impulse that is a motivational state that induces action and the will that is a process of conscious choice of direction.

Changes can be several, such as:

  • Hypobulia, a weakness, decreased desire, lack of will and energy;
  • Impulsive acts are sudden, uncontrollable and uncontrollable acts;
  • Compulsive acts, first there may be struggle or resistance to perform an act, but with failure in that attempt the act is done frequently, ritualized and to alleviate suffering.

Psychic assessment can be done by observation and different types of interviews, usually include the Mental State Examination – EMS, sometimes they can be complemented with questionnaires, psychological tests and physical and laboratory exams.

When a person undergoes this evaluation, the evaluator can identify the basis of a mental illness in the dysfunctions of these psychic functions and understand the different clinical manifestations.

For this reason, a descriptive psychopathological assessment of the case is essential to describe and categorize, and later you can use explanatory psychopathology to instruct.


by Abdullah Sam
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