Pearl Fey
You can see it, can't you, Mr. Nick? You can see the "lock" on that person's heart.

A red Psyche-Lock.

A Psyche-Lock is a mental barrier that an individual possesses, which protects his or her secrets from others. Phoenix Wright's magatama allows its holder to see these barriers manifest as chains surrounding an individual, sealed by red or black locks. Wright is generally the one to use the magatama, though Miles Edgeworth borrowed it once when he temporarily took Wright's place as Iris's defense attorney. As part of the spirit medium training at Hazakura Temple, the nuns use physical trick locks, which greatly resemble Psyche-Locks, to seal spirit mediums in training rooms to ensure isolation.

Red Psyche-LocksEdit

Main article: Magatama
Pearl Fey
The more someone wants to hide their secret, the more locks you will see. If it's only one, I think you can easily unlock it.
Andrews lock

One Psyche-Lock, the minimum number that can appear.

Matt engarde locks

Five Psyche-Locks, the most that can appear at once.

Red Psyche-Locks represent a secret that an individual is consciously trying to hide. The number of locks around him or her represents his or her determination to hide the secret, and this number can vary from one to five. This in turn allows the magatama to be used as a sort of lie detector, largely removing the possibilities of interrogating individuals about knowledge they do not have or being misled with red herrings. However, it is still possible to be misled if someone is technically telling the truth but is hiding something that Wright failed to account for in his initial questioning.

Red Psyche-Locks can be broken by correctly identifying a clue that is related to the secret, though occasionally other methods such as bribery can accomplish this as well. This usually involves presenting evidence or a profile from the court record. The effectiveness of such an action on Psyche-Locks varies; it may take two clues to break a single lock, or a single clue may break four. When the locks break, they shatter with a sound akin to a glass window breaking. Breaking a Psyche-Lock lets Wright know that he is on the right track to uncovering the secret. Breaking all Psyche-Locks tends to leave the target in a mood in which he or she is most willing to divulge more details, generally because Wright has figured out the most critical portions of the secret.

If a mistake is made by presenting the wrong evidence, then the magatama's holder may lose spiritual strength. This was a real and present threat for Wright prior to the end of his disbarment period. Physically, however, although Wright might have exclaimed "ouch" or something along those lines, he did not seem too bothered by it. If too many mistakes were made, a voice would intervene with a warning that, if he pushed himself further, his soul would shatter. Wright would then have to start from the beginning if he wished to try again, and even then, he only had one chance before he had to restart. Fortunately for Wright, however, the fatal threat to his soul never actually came to pass, and he could make as many attempts on Psyche-Locks as he liked. Luckily, when all the locks on an individual were removed, Wright's spiritual strength was restored by half. These dangers to Wright's soul seem to have been rendered irrelevant ever since Pearl Fey recharged his magatama in 2027.

It is possible to stop the process whenever the choice is given to produce proof if it is felt that not enough evidence has been gathered to break all of the locks. Unfortunately, if the process is abandoned, then the next attempt has to start again from the beginning, with any locks that were broken completely restored.

Iris, Larry Butz and Herman Crab all showed five red Psyche-Locks, which were not broken conventionally. However, Iris eventually revealed her secret on her own, while Herman Crab's secret was eventually revealed in court.

Black Psyche-LocksEdit

Phoenix Wright
(Wh-Whoa! I've never seen Psyche-Locks like these! Dark... Cold... Full of despair... Can I even unlock these things?)

Kristoph Gavin's black Psyche-Locks.

Black Psyche-Locks represent a secret that an individual keeps subconsciously, without even being aware of it. Forceful attempts to remove them by presenting evidence can cause permanent emotional and spiritual damage. Wright has described black Psyche-Locks as dark, cold and full of despair. The two people Wright has met who manifested black Psyche-Locks presented two very different situations surrounding them.

In Kristoph Gavin's case, the sheer paranoia he showed in hiding his schemes from others caused him to ignore Wright's questioning entirely when asked about his motive for murdering Zak Gramarye. Even when Apollo Justice and Klavier Gavin later found out about Kristoph's spying activities, which had led to the murders of Gramarye and Drew Misham, Kristoph dismissed it all as "quite an entertaining piece of fiction" since they had no evidence to prove it.


Athena Cykes' black Psyche-Locks.

On the other hand, Athena Cykes's black Psyche-Locks stemmed from a traumatic event involving the death of her mother, Metis Cykes. Wright broke these locks by rethinking the entire case and realizing that a mysterious intruder wearing a mask had killed Metis. This caused Athena's memories of the event to return.


See also: Magatama

Psyche-Locks appear primarily in investigations while talking to a character. Usually, when a topic button in the "Talk" menu is selected, the protagonist and the character in question discuss the topic in a scripted event, and once this concludes, a check mark appears over the topic button indicating that it has been used. However, when the character in question is unwilling to divulge certain details, Psyche-Locks appear and a Psyche-Lock icon rather than a check mark appears over the topic button. This indicates that the protagonist must use the magatama, which starts a sort of interrogation.

Because Psyche-Locks are used in specific scripted events for gameplay purposes, their appearances can be inconsistent. That is, a character may be hiding something directly related to an inquiry, but Psyche-Locks may not appear, leaving the secrets to be discovered in the trial segments rather than out-of-court.

Differences across gamesEdit

See also: Penalty

In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All, breaking Psyche-Locks is the only way to replenish the Confidence Gauge in a given episode. This means that penalties incurred while breaking Psyche-Locks impact the leeway given in trial segments, and penalties incurred in the courtroom impact the leeway given in Psyche-Lock breaking. Consequently, brute-force guessing is punished throughout an episode, so even if failure to break Psyche-Locks does not directly result in a game over, it is inadvisable to go all-out unless the player does not mind resetting many times or even starting from the beginning. The player should instead make sure that all possible evidence has been gathered.


A Psyche-Lock being broken.

In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations and Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, the Confidence Gauge is replenished at the end of every investigation and trial segment, separating "spirit health" from courtroom penalties. Penalties are removed entirely from investigations as of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies, removing the "spirit health" notion from the Psyche-Lock breaking process altogether.

List of Psyche-LocksEdit

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  The following is a list of Psyche-Locks in the Ace Attorney series.

Episode Character Number Color Unlocked?
Reunion, and Turnabout Mimi Miney 1 Red Yes
2 Red Yes
Mia Fey 3 Red Yes
Pearl Fey 2 Red Yes
Turnabout Big Top Max Galactica 3 Red Yes
Moe 2 Red Yes
Acro 3 Red Yes
Farewell, My Turnabout Adrian Andrews 4 Red Yes
1 Red Yes
Wendy Oldbag 4 Red Yes
Lotta Hart 2 Red Yes
Matt Engarde 5 Red Yes
The Stolen Turnabout Adrian Andrews 2 Red Yes
Luke Atmey 1 Red Yes
Larry Butz 2 Red Yes
Recipe for Turnabout Jean Armstrong 3 Red Yes
Victor Kudo 3 Red Yes
Dick Gumshoe 1 Red Yes
Lisa Basil 3 Red Yes
Viola Cadaverini 4 Red Yes
Bridge to the Turnabout Iris 5 Red No
2 Red Yes
5 Red No
Larry Butz 3 Red Yes
5 Red No
Bikini 5 Red Yes
Dahlia Hawthorne 3 Red Yes
Pearl Fey 5 Red Yes
Turnabout Succession Valant Gramarye 4 Red Yes
2 Red Yes
Mike Meekins 2 Red Yes
Drew Misham 2 Red Yes
Vera Misham 2 Red Yes
Zak Gramarye 3 Red Yes
Kristoph Gavin 5 Black No
The Cosmic Turnabout Bobby Fulbright 2 Red Yes
Turnabout for Tomorrow Yuri Cosmos 3 Red Yes
Athena Cykes 5 Black Yes
Turnabout Reclaimed Pearl Fey 1 Red Yes
Norma DePlume 2 Red Yes
Herman Crab 2 Red Yes
5 Red No
The Rite of Turnabout Beh'leeb Inmee 3 Red Yes
Datz Are'bal 4 Red Yes
Turnabout Time Traveler Larry Butz 2 Red Yes
Pierce Nichody 3 Red Yes


There are three pieces of background music used when an attempt is made to break Psyche-Locks. The first is simply titled "Psyche-Lock" and is used in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice For All and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations. The second is "Psyche-Lock 2007", a slightly more intricate version used in Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney. The third is "Psyche-Lock 2013", used in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Dual Destinies and Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Spirit of Justice.

The Psyche-Lock theme is featured on the Gyakuten Saiban Meets Orchestra album as the opening section of a Fey clan-themed medley called "Kurain Genealogy" (consisting of the Psyche-Lock theme, "Dahlia Hawthorne ~ Distant Image", "Elise Deauxnim ~ Gentle Melody", and "Turnabout Sisters Theme").


In the Japanese versions of the games, the Psyche-Locks are called Saiko rokku ("Psycho Locks"), while Miles Edgeworth mistakenly calls them Saikoro-jō ("Dice Locks"). In the English localization, Edgeworth and Drew Misham refer to them as "psycholocks" and "psycho locks", respectively, a possible reference to their original name. This joke continues anytime others hear about the Psyche-Locks in the English version.

In the Spanish localization, they are called "Psico-Candados" (literal equivalent of "Psyche-Locks"), while Edgeworth calls them "Loco-candados" (Psycho[path] Lock) instead. Drew Misham, however, calls them "Psico-candados", calling them properly.

In other mediaEdit

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