Surreal Illustrations from 1970s Psychology Textbooks

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If you’re anything like us, you’ve encountered a bizarre illustration or two in the many textbooks you’ve pretended to peruse over the years. But these incredible surreal illustrations by Karl Nicholason for Communications Research Machines textbooks in the early 1970s, which we spotted over at 50 Watts, might just take the cake, weirdness-wise. After all, they look more like illustrations from some cracked version of Alice in Wonderland than they do images from any textbook we’ve ever seen. After the jump, check out a few of our favorites from the set, and then head here to see more of Nicholason’s work.

Illustration by Karl Nicholason. From Developmental Psychology Today, 1971.Figure 20.8: “The adolescent may show a calm exterior, which often hides a raging inner turmoil.”

Illustration by Karl Nicholason. From Society Today, 1971.From Chapter 22: Religion as a social institution

Illustration by Karl Nicholason. From Abnormal Psychology Today, 1972.Fig. 5.8: One important aim of existential psychotherapy is to help the person assume responsibility for his own actions, because only through accepting responsibility can the client create meaning in his own life. Different existential therapists, however, may use totally different approaches; the label “existential” represents a viewpoint, not a method. Frankl, for example, has developed the techniques of paradoxical intention and de-reflection, which he uses to help a client deal with neurotic disturbances. These methods, which are described in the chapter, help the individual to “control his own chess board” rather than being one of the pawns.

Illustration by Karl Nicholason. From Psychology Today, 1970.Illustrates the section “Agression Directed Inward”

Illustration by Karl Nicholason. From Developmental Psychology Today, 1971.“Figure 23.9: The revolutionary versus the patient.”

Illustration by Karl Nicholason. From Abnormal Psychology Today, 1972.Section on personality disorders: “explosive” (top), “antisocial” (right), “obsessive-compulsive” (bottom), “explosive” (left)

Illustration by Karl Nicholason. From Abnormal Psychology Today, 1972.Section on personality disorders: “paranoid” (top), “schizoid” (right), “cyclothymic” (bottom), “asthenic” (left)

Illustration by Karl Nicholason. From Abnormal Psychology Today, 1972.Section on personality disorders: “hysterical” (left), “cyclothymic” (right)

Illustration by Karl Nicholason. From Psychology Today, 1970.Illustrates the section on homosexuality

Illustration by Karl Nicholason. From Society Today, 1971.From Chapter 12: The world of work