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August 8, 1953


JAMA. 1953;152(15):1417-1420. doi:10.1001/jama.1953.03690150021006

The skin may reveal emotional states as eloquently as do the muscles of facial expression. Control of facial muscles may keep the visage inscrutable despite inner turmoil; but voluntary control is useless in suppressing the blush of embarrassment or the cold sweat of fear. Our daily conversation is replete with references to revelations of feelings on the integument. We speak of the face that becomes "purple with rage" or "white with fear." The person impervious to insult is referred to as "thick-skinned"; the sensitive one is "thin-skinned." Aware of danger, one's "hair stands on end"; he may "bristle with courage" or, frozen with fright, have cutis anserina ("goose flesh"). We refer to the "sweating-out" of an unpleasant situation. The expression to "sweat blood" finds its origin in purpuras and religious stigmas of hysterical origin.1 The term "a blistering denunciation" is derived from the ability to produce blisters by hypnotic

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