Let K be a CM number field and GK its absolute Galois group. A representation of GK is said to be polarized if it is isomorphic to the contragredient of its outer complex conjugate, up to a twist by a power of the cyclotomic character. Absolutely irreducible polarized representations of GK have a sign ±1, generalizing the fact that a self-dual absolutely irreducible representation is either symplectic or orthogonal. If Π is a regular algebraic, polarized, cuspidal automorphic representation of GLn(𝔸K), and if ρ is a p-adic Galois representation attached to Π, then ρ is polarized and we show that all of its polarized irreducible constituents have sign +1 . In particular, we determine the orthogonal/symplectic alternative for the Galois representations associated to the regular algebraic, essentially self-dual, cuspidal automorphic representations of GLn (𝔸F) when F is a totally real number field.