Fear is a distressing negative sensation
Sensation is the fiction-writing mode for portraying a character's perception of the senses. According to Ron Rozelle, “. . .the success of your story or novel will depend on many things, but the most crucial is your ability to bring your reader into it. And that reader will be most completely...

 induced by a perceived threat. It is a basic survival mechanism occurring in response to a specific stimulus
Stimulus (physiology)
In physiology, a stimulus is a detectable change in the internal or external environment. The ability of an organism or organ to respond to external stimuli is called sensitivity....

, such as pain
Pain is an unpleasant sensation often caused by intense or damaging stimuli such as stubbing a toe, burning a finger, putting iodine on a cut, and bumping the "funny bone."...

 or the threat of danger. In short, fear is the ability to recognize danger leading to an urge to confront it or flee from it (also known as the fight-or-flight response
Fight-or-flight response
The fight-or-flight response was first described by Walter Bradford Cannon....

) but in extreme cases of fear (terror
Terror may refer to:*Fear, an emotional response to threats and danger*Terror, a political strategy of the asymmetrical use of threats and violence against enemies using means that fall outside the routine forms of political struggle operating within some current regime*Terrorism, the fact of...

) a freeze or paralysis response is possible. Some psychologist
Psychologist is a professional or academic title used by individuals who are either:* Clinical professionals who work with patients in a variety of therapeutic contexts .* Scientists conducting psychological research or teaching psychology in a college...

s such as John B. Watson
John B. Watson
John Broadus Watson was an American psychologist who established the psychological school of behaviorism. Watson promoted a change in psychology through his address Psychology as the Behaviorist Views it which was given at Columbia University in 1913...

, Robert Plutchik
Robert Plutchik
Robert Plutchik was professor emeritus at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and adjunct professor at the University of South Florida. He received his Ph.D. from Columbia University and he was also a psychologist. He has authored or coauthored more than 260 articles, 45 chapters and eight...

, and Paul Ekman
Paul Ekman
Paul Ekman is a psychologist who has been a pioneer in the study of emotions and their relation to facial expressions. He has been considered one of the 100 most eminent psychologists of the twentieth century...

 have suggested that fear belongs to a small set of basic or innate emotion
Emotion is a complex psychophysiological experience of an individual's state of mind as interacting with biochemical and environmental influences. In humans, emotion fundamentally involves "physiological arousal, expressive behaviors, and conscious experience." Emotion is associated with mood,...


Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Psalms|Psalms, 23:4

The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

Psalms|Psalms, 27:1

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea.

Psalms|Psalms, 46:1-2

As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.

Psalms|Psalms, 103:11

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.

Psalms|Psalms, 111:10

Be not afraid of sudden fear.

Book of Proverbs|Book of Proverbs, 3:25

Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

Ecclesiastes|Ecclesiastes, 12:13

Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentis.

Translation: Whatever it is, I fear Greeks even when they bring gifts.

Oderint dum metuant.

Translation: Let them hate, so long as they fear.

The fear of death is more to be dreaded than death itself.

Publilius Syrus, Maxims, No. 511 (100 BC)