The 2015 Mind and Life Summer Research Institute (MLSRI) examines the theme of Fear and Trust in Self and Society. Presentations and discussions draw on research in both the sciences and the humanities, including neuroscience, psychology, philosophy, religion, and contemplative studies. We explore the biological and experiential aspects of fear, its influence on our cognition and emotion, and its expression in both healthy states and clinical disorders. Critically, we also examine the role of trust and interpersonal connection as a counterpoint to fear, investigating the protective functions of secure attachment and compassion. Finally, we ask how contemplative practices might be used to help us work with fear and cultivate social bonds.