About the EMHFC

“I clearly remember the moment when the idea was planted to organize a meeting for human fear conditioning researchers across Europe. It was in Helsinki, 2008, where I met Tanja Michael at the opening reception of the annual meeting of the the European Association for Behavioral Cognitive Therapies (EABCT). We realized that the reason why we hadn’t met before was because we frequented different conferences. This was also true for other colleagues in the field: we would meet them sporadically in big conferences dedicated to broader topics like psychophysiology, associative learning, clinical psychology, neurobiology, pharmacology etc. This nicely characterizes the trans-disciplinary nature of human fear conditioning research, but that time we also lamented (over a glass of wine, or two, or three, I can’t remember) that there was so little connection between labs across Europe and that we were always relatively isolated in those big conferences. The idea for a local, informal, small-scaled meeting was born. Because the Leuven group has been a stronghold in human conditioning research for decades, it seemed appropriate that this group would organize this meeting in Belgium. As I was young and foolish, I convinced my supervisor at the time, Deb Vansteenwegen that we should go ahead and organize this in Belgium.”

Bram Vervliet, 2016

“The EMHFC was not on my radar as a conference to attend.  I quickly discovered a gem. No where in world is there a conference so focused on the study of fear, particularly fear conditioning. The conference is also unique, because it focuses on networking and discussion.  There is plenty of time to chat with people and discuss science.  The poster session coincides with an open bar.  This may sound messy, but it made the poster session a social event.  People presented their posters in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.  Further, the poster session also went on until 2am!  Mainly because everyone was having such a great time.  I have to say, this is one of the most fun and educating conferences I have attended.  If you study human learning, fear and neuroscience, this conference should not be missed!”

Dean Mobbs – 2019 keynote speaker

“This meeting is unique in that it brings together experts who are on the cutting-edge of developing innovative fear conditioning research paradigms. THe meeting provides a casual atmosphere for the exchange of ideas and a forum to discuss any issues or trends in this sepcific field. I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and speaking with leaders in human fear conditioning research and to trainees working on thier dissertation research. In just a few days, I learned of new experimental approaches and new methods that I will implement in my own research with new collaborators. I left the meeting invigorated and excited about these new ideas and plan to continue the communication that was started during the meeting.”

Tanja Jovanovic – 2019 keynote speaker

“The EMHFC represents everything a scientific meeting should be:  outstanding science in a small forum that encourages vibrant discussion in a lovely setting with wonderful colleagues.  I was especially impressed by the number of young scientists in attendance, which bodes well for the future of research in this area!  Importantly, I saw many opportunities for new research projects arising from the discussions; indeed, I plan to reach out to my new European colleagues to consider collaborative projects that would translate work from animals to humans.”

Stephen Maren – 2017 keynote speaker


“I cannot say enough good things about this conference. It is rare to have a conference where everyone is interested in the same topic, fear conditioning. As such, all the sessions were relevant and engaging to senior level investigators, post-doctoral fellows, and graduate students. Whether during the sessions, at poster sessions, or around the dining table, the friendly and open discussions led to new ideas and a different way of thinking. You really have the opportunity to see how the field is moving. More areas should adopt this framework. We would accomplish so much more and this group has paved the way. I cannot wait until the next meeting.”

Jennifer Britton – 2017 keynote speaker


“I was thoroughly impressed by the EMHFC. The talks represented cutting edge findings and the translation from basic sicence to clinical application was truly inspiring. This conference offers junior researchers wonderful opportunities to both present their work and interact with more established figures in the field in a way that was supportive and encouraging”

Michelle Craske – 2016 keynote speaker


“I really enjoyed the intimate environment that fosters daily discussions between faculty and grad students/postdocs working in the area. It’s rare to engage in that kind of extended social interaction at larger conferences. The poster sessions were particularly informative to get information about the exciting current research being done in various European labs. I have run into several attendees afterwards at other events, and we shared our fond memories of the EMHFC meeting!”

Kevin LaBar – 2015 keynote speaker