Leuven, Belgium, 11th December 2014 to 11th December 2014

The third meeting of the COOL IAP Network – COOL3, was organised by Tom Beckers (KULeuven) and took place on December 11th, 2014 at Iers College in Leuven. The meeting, attended by about 40 researchers, featured updates on WP progress by the WP leaders in the morning, as well as focused research presentations by junior staff in the afternoon. The meeting concluded with a keynote lecture by Pr. Alfonso Hamm (University of Greifswald) in the afternoon. The different documents associated with the event are available for download on this page.


The full program of the meeting appears below:


09.30              Introduction by Axel Cleeremans


09:40              Progress Reports


09:40 P1a (ULB) – Cleeremans/Peigneux

09:50 P1b (ULB) – Kolinsky/Content

09:50 P2a (UG)- De Houwer

10:10 P2b (UG) – Brass

10:20 P3 (KUL) – Beckers

10:30 P4 (UCL) – Rossion

10:40 INT1 (UCLondon) – Haggard

10:50 INT2 (Sussex) – Dienes

11:00              Coffee break


11:30              Research Presentations – Part I


11:30 Senne Braem (UG)

11:55 Elisa Maes (KUL)

12:20             Lunch +  Administrative meeting (Pls only ; 13:00-13:50)


13:50              Research Presentations – Part II


13:50 Irène Cogliati (ULB)

14:15 Nura Sidarus (UCLondon)

14:40 Aliette Lochy (UCL)

15:05 Fabienne Chetail (ULB)

15:30              Coffee break


16:00              Research Presentations – Part III


16:00 Peter Lush (Sussex)


16:25              Keynote Address: Alfons Hamm


Dynamics of defensive responses to threat


From the perspective of behavioral neuroscience fear and anxiety are emotional states that activate a defense system in the mammalian brain. This defense system regulates the encoding of threatening stimuli and organizes the response output to adjust to the threat. Animal data suggest that the amygdala is the core structure in this defense system. This subcortical defense system cannot only be activated by intrinsically innate aversive events (i.e., unconditioned threats), but also by conditioned previously innocuous stimuli that get access to the fear system after they have been associated with unconditioned threats. Importantly, defensive responses change systematically with increasing threat proximity, as outlined in the threat imminence model. According to this model non-threat specific hypervigilance is activated when the organism is in a context where a threat has been encountered previously (in clinical models this defensive behavior has been described as anxious apprehension or worry). When threat is detected defensive behavior switches to attentive freezing characterized by fear bradycardia and startle potentiation. During circa strike active defensive behavior (fight or flight) is engaged modulated by midbrain structures. Human data will be presented demonstrating the dynamic nature of defensive behavior comprising interacting adjustments both on the cognitive level of information processing but also on the level of automatic behavioral adaptations. Moreover, these behavioral adjustments correspond with differential neural network activation that also changes depending upon the proximity of the threat and the behavioral options that are available. Some clinical data will be presented to demonstrate how these neuroscience based models and empirical findings might be translated to the clinic and thus might provide better guidance for conceptualizing psychopathology of anxiety disorders beyond the level of pure symptom reports.

COOL3 - Irène_Cogliati_talk
COOL3 - WP7 update
COOL 3 - WP6 Update
COOL3 - WP3 update
Program 3rd COOL meeting


Directions from railway station in Leuven to the Leuven Institute:
By Bus
The bus station is to the right of the Railway Station when exiting the railway station.
Bus number 2 (direction Naamsepoort/Heverlee) leaves from the railway station every 15 minutes (in rush hour between 07.00-9.00 and 16.00-19.00, every 8 minutes).
Get off at Sint Michielskerk (St Michael’s Church), which is on your left and on your right is the GB Express supermarket.
Walk down Sint Antoniusberg hill and arrive on Pater Damiaanplein.
On the left corner of the square is the Leuven Institute for Ireland in Europe.

Walking (20 mins)
Take Bondgenotenlaan (the big shopping street), which is the long straight street right ahead of you as you come out of the station.
Continue on this road and you will see St Peter’s Cathedral and the town hall as you approach the end of the street.
As you enter the Grote Markt- you will see the Town Hall in front of you. Keep St Peter’s Cathedral on your right and the town hall on your left.
Exit the square at the far left corner, with Krokodil toy store opposite you. You will then pass the McDonalds on your left. You are now in the Oude Markt (the Old Square).
In the Oude Markt, walk to the very end and turn right onto a short downhill slope and then turn left onto Parijsstraat.
Follow Parijsstraat- you’ll see ‘‘Cafe t’Vervolg’’ at the end of the street. Walk towards this until you come to Pater Damiaanplein (small square on your right).

Go to the bottom of the square and take the small street on your left-hand side.
The Leuven Institute is the first building on the left. It is a redbrick building with a glass door. You will need to ring the bell on the right-hand side to gain entry.

For more information, see http://www.leuveninstitute.eu

Tom Beckers
+32 16 32 61 34


Mechanisms of conscious and unconscious learning