­“Be Afraid!” This imperative summarizes many newspaper headlines as fear is becoming a permanent part of the modern world. Fear is often examined in relation to specific issues, but rarely as a topic in its own right. Rooted in our evolutionary history, enacted by our brain chemistry and used throughout society and culture; fear transcends traditional academic disciplines and can only be understood in totality from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS) will host an international conference entitled FEAR: Brain, Behaviour, Society on December 4-5 2017 in Aarhus, Denmark. The conference will gather leading international researchers from a variety of fields for two days to present newest knowledge on fear. The conference will be organized into 5 multidisciplinary sessions, each incorporating contributions from several fields.

Sessions: “Evolution and ecology of fear.” “Fear in learning and memory.” “Fear in clinical practice”. “Strategies of fear”. “Innate and learned fear.”


Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS), Aarhus University, Buildings 1630-1632, Høegh-Guldbergs Gade 6B, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark. See location on a map.

Confirmed invited speakers 

  • Ruth Wodak, Dept. of Linguistics and English Language, Lancaster University, UK & University of Vienna, Austria
  • Andreas Olsson, Dept. of Clinical Neuroscience and Psychology, Karolinska Institutet, Sweden
  • Emily Gray, School of Law, University of Sheffield, UK
  • Ines Blix, Norwegian centre for violence and traumatic stress studies, Olso, Norway
  • Johanna Mappes, Dept. of Biological and Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, Finland
  • Cornelius Gross, EMBL, Monterotondo, Italy
  • Liana Zanette, Dept. of Biology, Western University, Canada
  • Robert Elliott, Dept. of Psychological Sciences & Health, University of Strathclyde, USA
  • Thomas P. Flower,  South African National Biodiversity Institute,  University of Cape Town, South Africa
  • Belinda Thewes, Dept. of Medical Psychology, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
  • Daniel Blumstein,  Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, UCLA, USA
  • Marco Capogna, Dept. of Biomedicine Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Carsten Bagge Laustsen, Dept. of Political Science, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Mikkel Arendt, Dept. of Clinical Medicine - The Dept. of General Pshychiatry, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Mathias Clasen, School of Communication and Culture, English, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Armin W. Geertz, AIAS and Dept. of the Study of Religion, Aarhus University, Denmark  



Time schedule

Monday 4 December
08:30-09:00: Coffee and registration
09:00-17:45: Sessions 1-3
17:45-19:15: Posters and reception
19:00-22:00: Conference dinner 

Tuesday 5 December
09:00-16:30: Sessions 4-5

Call for abstracts: POSTER PRESENTATIONS

We invite researchers of all academic disciplines to submit abstracts that present research on fear for poster presentations. 

Proposers should submit an abstract of approx. 200 words by 22 October 2017 to:

Proposals should include an abstract, name and contact information of the proposer. Proposers will receive notification on whether their proposal has been accepted by 25 October 2017. Posters will be presented on the 4 December. 

Participants with an accepted abstract will get the conference dinner for free.    


The conference is open to all, and participation in the sessions is free of charge. If you wish to join the lunch and coffee breaks which are free of charge, prior registration is necessary. Deadline for lunch registration is on 10 November 2017. 

A conference dinner will be held on 4 December at 20:00 which is open for delegates attending the conference. A fee of DKK500,- (EUR 65) is charged for the dinner for delegates who are not presenting.


Deadline: 10 November 2017.

Context: FEAR - UBIAS Topic of the Year

The conference is part of the 'FEAR' 2017 Topic of the Year for UBIAS. UBIAS is a global network for University-based Institutes for Advanced Study, at present encompassing 37 institutes, currently with AIAS as the coordinating institute of the network. Besides the panel, AIAS fellows and collaborators are organizing a series of events to address the topic in various formats and through the whole year of 2017. See here:

Scientific committee