Donald B. Giddon Clinical Professor Emeritus of Behavioral and Social Sciences

Donald B. Giddon, DMD, PhD, a former Dean of New York University (NYU), was Professor of Anesthesiology at the NYU School of Medicine and Professor of Psychology in the NYU Faculty of Arts and Science. In addition, he is now a Consultant in Psychology, Pain Management Center, Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital, Clinical Professor of Developmental Biology at Harvard, Clinical Professor of Community Health Emeritus at Brown University School of Medicine, Clinical Professor of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Clinical Professor of Epidemiology and Health Promotion at NYUm and Clinical Professor at Stony Brook University, Health Sciences Center. He has also been a professor and Associate Dean at Tufts University School of Dental Medicine. Previously, he held positions as Visiting Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Aarhus, Denmark, University of Groningen in the Netherlands, McGill University, Montreal, while serving as Founding Director of the Research Institute of the Royal Victoria Hospital, and as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. In addition to having served as a Trustee of Emerson College and now the Berkshire Theatre Group, Dr. Giddon has also been a Visiting Physician at New York University Hospital and on the medical staff of Brookdale Hospital in New York.

Dr. Giddon received his DMD from Harvard University and his PhD in Psychology from Brandeis University following an AB degree from Brown University and a MA from Boston University, also in psychology.

The author of more than 100 published articles, abstracts, reviews and books, and over 120 lectures on self-image, the psychophysiology of stress and disease, pain and facial deformity, and the physical bases of the perception of facial and body appearance, Dr. Giddon continues to be involved in teaching and research, private practice and consulting. He has also been instrumental in the development of methods for evaluating effectiveness and safety of local anesthetics.

Dr. Giddon is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Public Health Association, International College of Psychosomatic Medicine, Royal Society of Medicine, and the American Psychological Association; a member of Sigma XI, the American Psychosomatic Society, Charter Member of the American Pain Society; and listed in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World. He has been scientific consultant for Astra Pharmaceutical Company and Richardson-Vicks, responsible for worldwide clinical trials of local anesthetics.

Brown Affiliations

Research Areas

research overview

Dr. Giddon is involved in research on the relation of psychological/behavioral factors to disease and health behavior. Topics include: the psychophysiology of pain—including lateralization and gender differences in pain--, anxiety, and stress-related diseases; and the anthropometric bases of perception of facial/body appearance. Also being investigated is expanding the roles of paramedical personnel to assume selected primary care functions

research statement

The appearance and function of the oro-facial area are major factors contributing to quality of life. The face is essential in verbal and nonverbal communication and also displays important information about an individuals' gender, age, and race, and personality traits during social interactions (Giddon, 1995; Heller et al., 1998). The physical attractiveness of an individual also affects mental health and social behavior with significant implications for educational and employment opportunities, mate selection, etc. ( Berscheid & Gangestad, 1982; Alley & Hildebrandt, 1988; Buss, 1994; Hatfield & Sprecher, 1995). Individuals with visible stigmata such as cleft lip or port wine stain are subject to negative perceptions and avoidance by others, which can "spread" (MacGregor, 1951; Jourard, 1963; Kapp, 1979; Stricker et al., 1979; Bull & Rumsey, 1988; Houston & Bull, 1994) to other unrelated attributes such as intelligence, honesty, athletic ability etc. Thus, facial perception by self and others influences how others judge us and we judge ourselves.

The precise relationship between facial morphology and perception has not been adequately defined. Only by inference from the data acquired by a variety of psychophysical and related techniques can one get an indication of the mental image or ideational representation an individual has of his own or another's face or body (Giddon, 1995). It is even more difficult to determine to what components of the face the perceiver is actually responding.
Previous studies have used various methods such as drawings, caricatures, touched-up photos, etc. to represent faces (Giddon et al., 1974; Bell et al., 1985; Burcal et al., 1987; Kiyak & Zeitler, 1988; Maxwell & Kiyak, 1991; Assuncao, 1992a & b; Tobiasen & Hiebert, 1993). While providing some information, these stimuli may be unrealistic or nonstandardized, thus, responses to these stimuli may provide some information but may not be reliable or valid. representations of actual faces. Although X-ray cephalometry may be appropriate for assessment of skeletal deformities, it yields limited information on the soft-tissue profile and does not provide a meaningful stimulus for quantitating perceptual responses of patients.
Technological advances, such as computer imaging/software, have been used to facilitate patient clinician communication improve diagnosis and treatment planning by quantitatively relating morphological changes to perception of facial/body appearance.

In response to the need to develop more realistic stimulus presentations (Giddon, 1995) for determining perceptual endpoints, Giddon et al. (1996a) developed a computer animated imaging program to determine how the quantitative changes in morphology of the face relate to perceived acceptability The new PerceptometricTM method of Giddon et al., developed with support of a NIH Grant (Giddon et al., 1996a & b, 1997; Arpino et al. 1998; Anderson et al., 1999a & b; Giddon & Anderson, 1999; Hier et al., 1999; Kitay et al., 1999; Mejia et al., 2000; Thai et al., 2000) is based on the classic psychophysical method of adjustment for determining boundaries of subjective acceptance (Olzak & Thomas, 1986) of continuously changing physical dimensions of the face; for example, manipulation of anterior posterior and vertical position of upper lip, lower lip, mandible, chin, and lower face height. Such a method permits the determination of how much physical change in a particular feature is necessary before an unacceptable feature/body part is found to be acceptable, or, conversely, how much morphometric change in an acceptable feature/face or body component must occur before it is perceived as unacceptable. The same method can be applied to determine the physical basis of other words used to describe appearance such as attractive, beautiful, pretty, ugly, deformed etc. The PerceptometricTM method animates a sequence of discrete image distortions or frames, which are then used to assess profile preferences. This program establishes the boundaries of a zone or range of acceptability of changes in the soft tissue profile of the face, as well as a midpoint of acceptable change. For both the clinician and the patient, this new technology may be helpful in communicating to the patient both aspects of the diagnosis and the treatment plan. This technique may offer "the clinician the advantage of providing a dynamic range rather than a single point of acceptable changes to the patient" (Kitay et al., 1999).

Related Pre- and Postdoctoral Research Projects:
Red font indicates postdoctoral student, Green font indicates predoctoral student

Computer-animated Comparison of Self-perception With Actual Profiles of Orthodontic and Nonorthodontic Subjects: Denise Kitay, EA BeGole, CA Evans, DB Giddon
The objectives of this study were to determine if motivation for adult orthodontic treatment is influenced by self-perception using the PerceptometricTM program for animating facial changes. Orthodontic and nonorthodontic Subjects (Ss) were equally accurate in their ability to identify their own profiles, however, orthodontic Ss had a larger disparity between the most pleasing and at least one feature of their actual profile than did the nonorthodontic Ss.
Int J Adult Orthod Orthognath Surg 1999, 14(2):125-134)

Comparison of Preferences in Lip Position Using Computer Animated Imaging: Lawrence Hier, CA Evans, EA BeGole, and DB Giddon
The objectives of this study were to examine the esthetic preferences of lip position in males and females and to compare them to each other and a common orthodontic standard using a custom computer animation program. Both males and females preferred a lip fullness greater than the Ricketts' values. The computer animation method appears to be extremely sensitive, as indicated by the judges' aggregate ability to differentiate less than 1 mm. of change in the soft tissue profile. Angle Orthod 69(3):231 238, 1999.

Presurgical Profile Preferences of Patients and Clinicians: Vincent Arpino, DB Giddon, E BeGole, C Evans
Although one of the major reasons cited for seeking orthognathic surgery is a desire for improvement in facial esthetics, differences may exist between the presurgical profile preferences of orthognathic surgical patients and clinicians. It was concluded that orthognathic patients have a lower tolerance for facial profile deviation than surgeons or orthodontists, indicating the necessity of greater communication between patients and professionals. J.Dent.Res. 76:173, 1997

Comparison of Children's Computer imaged Profiles as Perceived by Patient, Parent and Clinician: RM Miner, NK Anderson, DB Giddon: Amer Assoc of Orthodontists 101st Annual Session, Ontario, Canada, On Site Program p. 62, #59, May 5, 2001.

Gender Differences in Computer Animated Profile Self Perception: Kathryn Reluga, NK Anderson, DB Giddon
The objectives of this study were to examine gender differences in profile self perception using the method of Giddon et al. for computer animated presentation of stimulus faces. Significant gender differences in the correlations among the angular measurements and the preferred position of the mandible and lips were found. J Dent Res 81:0153, 2002.

Profile Preferences of Japanese, Japanese Americans, and Caucasians: Gabriella Orsini
The purpose of this study is to evaluate perceptions of optimal facial profiles by Japanese, Japanese-Americans and Caucasian orthodontists and laypersons, focusing on the bimaxillary dimension of the face. An additional objective is to determine if profile characteristics outside the ideal range evoke different reactions on the part of Japanese, Japanese Americans and Caucasian orthodontists and laypersons.

Facial Profile Preferences of Mexican Americans: Martha Meija-Maidel, Postdoctoral Thesis, 2001

The Effect Your Orthodontic and Ethnic Background has on Profiles of African Americans Pre and Post Treatment: Javonne McCoy, CA Evans, G Viana, DB Giddon, NK Anderson. Submitted, AADR, 2003

Profile Preferences of Korean-American Orthodontic Patients: Yoon Park, CA Evans, G Viana, DB Giddon, NK Anderson. Submitted, AADR, 2003

Affective and Physiological Responses to Self confrontation With Computer Displayed Profile Images:
David Amram, NK Anderson, DB Giddon
The purpose of this study was to detemine the affective and physiological responses associated with viewing disotrotions of one's own face compared to that of a neutral face. Following mental math atask and baseline measures, distorted and veridical profile images were presented to Ss. Recordings of heart rate (HR), heart rate variabiliy (HRV) , amplitude of blood volume pulse (BVP) and O2 saturation were obtained. Concurrently, Ss indicated their affective state. Consistent with a response hierarchy, each Ss had a specific pattern of physiologic responses to the self images (i.e. decreased HR and increased BVP; increased HR/decreased BVP). The clinical signifance of these findings is that patients do respond physiologically to viewiing heretofore unseen profile images which may also influence subsequent perceptions. Psychophysiology 35(1):S16, 1998.

Affective and Physiological Responses to Continuously Distorted Computerized Facial Images: Robert Wilson Based on the earlier work of Amram, the objective of this study is to determine physiological responses associated with viewing animated distortions of the self-profile using the PerceptometricTM method.

Stimulus Variables Affecting Perception of Morphing Faces: Tuan Thai, NK Anderson, DB Giddon
The primary objective of this project was to determine the optimal combination of stimulus variables which produced the lowest variability across Ss and trials in perceptual responses to continuously changing facial morphology. In addition to obtaining ZA and MA which were similar to those found in previous studies (8 10, 13), the results of the present study provided the optimal combination of Sp (

funded research

1. "Affective and physiological responses to continuously distorted computerized facial images"
Investigator: Robert Wilson Agency: Harvard Medical School Period: 2001-

2. "Factors influencing the differential classification of faces"
Investigator: Bertina Yuen Agency: Harvard Medical School Period: 2001-

3. "The influence of size and color stimulus variables on perception of morphed faces"
Investigator: Nelson Liu Agency: Harvard Medical School Period: 2001-

4. "Lateralization in temporomandibular disease"
Investigator: Michal Kleinlerer Agency: Harvard Medical School Period: 2001-

5. "Lateralization of mucoceles"
Investigator: Andrea Carbone Agency: Harvard Medical School Period: 2002-

6. "Craniofacial anthropometrics and perceived personality attributes in Bosnia"
Investigator: Mersiha Avdic Agency: Harvard Medical School Period: 2002-

7. "Profile preferences of adult orthodontic patients in a private orthodontic practice"
Investigator: Lawrence Hier, DDS, MSc Agency: University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry Period: 2001-

8. "Profile preferences of Japanese, Japanese-Americans, and Caucasians
Investigator: Gabriella Orsini, DDS, PhD Agency: University of Washington, Department of Orthodontics Period: 2002-

9. "Quantification of patients' perceived and desired posttreatment profile using a computer-morphing program"
Investigator: Ian Silversmith, DDS Agency: Stony Brook University Period: 2002-

10. "Lateralization in Pain"
Investigator: Prathima Sree Prasanna Agency: Harvard Medical School Period: 2003-

11. "Recognition of Dental Manifestations of Osteoporosis"
Investigator: Vanessa Yu Agency: Harvard Medical School Period: 2003-

a. Predoctoral
1. Norton, LS. The effect of sympathectomy in molar ligation on the periodontal tissues of the golden hamster. (DMD Thesis, HSDM, 1962) Now Professor at University of Connecticut and Lecturer at Harvard.
2. Kushnir, H. Photoelectric monitoring of gingival vascular reactions. (DMD Thesis, HSDM, 1963) (See Abstract No. 6)

3. Bleil, BT. Fiber optic reflection plethysmography of ridge mucosa under a denture base. (DMD Thesis, HSDM, 1965)

4. Mulvihill, JE. Utilization of a prepaid plan of commercial dental insurance (DMD Thesis, HSDM, 1967) Former Vice President for Health Affairs, U. of Connecticut, and President, Forsyth Dental Center and now President, Juvenile Diabetes Foundation. (See Pub. No. 39)

5. Moon, W. Computerized methods in reproducing perceived, desired and actual facial profiles, and the analysis of their relationship (DMD Thesis, HSDM, 1989)

6. Genet, DG. The efficacy of the elicitation of the relaxation response in reducing anxiety and pain in operative dental procedure (DMD Thesis, awarded Magna Cum Laude Honors in Special Field, HSDM, 1989)

7. Lim, JY. Soft tissue cephalometric analysis and perceptual analysis of Korean Americans (3rd Year Thesis, HSDM, 1989)

8. Lim, JY. Self/other perception and cephalometric differences among Korean (K), Korean- American (KA) and Caucasian (C) females (DMD Thesis awarded Cum Laude Honors in Special Field, HSDM, 1990) Now Assistant Clinical Professor, New York University. (See Abstract No. 34)

9. Sconzo, RM. Comparison of computer based methodologies to quantify facial profile preference (DMD Thesis, HSDM, 1993) (See Pub. No. 66)

10. Farzaneh, S. Relation of computer animated variations in lip morphology to aesthetic judgment. (3rd year Thesis, HSDM, 1993) (See Abstract No. 35)

11. Bernier, D. A comparison of two computer-animated imaging programs in quantifying facial profile preference. (3rd year Thesis, HSDM, May 1994) (See Pub. No. 67)

12. Park, MC. Physical cues related to perception of female faces as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. (Research project, awarded Cum Laude Honors in Special Field, HSDM, 1997) Faculty appointment at Columbia University. (See Abstract No. 38)

13. Sayek, S. Facial symmetry and proportion and waist-hip ratio in females. (HSDM pre- doctoral research project, 1997) Presented at Yankee Dental Conference, Boston. January,1998

14. Chen, L. Comparison of pain relief strategies of Asian patients in Boston and Taiwan for postoperative acute pain. (HSDM pre-doctoral research project, 1997)

15. Tran, C. Survey of practicing dentists' knowledge and attitudes in recognizing and treating anorexia and bulimia nervosa. (HSDM pre-doctoral research project, 1997) Presented at Yankee Dental Congress, Boston, January 1998, and at American Association of Dental Schools, Minneapolis, March 1998. (See Abstract No. 41)

16. Yeung, K. Continuation of MC Park's "Physical cues related to perception of female faces as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean". (HSDM pre-doctoral research project, 1998)

17. Amram, D. Cognitive, behavioral and affective responses to self-confrontation with computer animated profile images. (HSDM Thesis, awarded Cum Laude Honors in Special Field, 1997-1998) (See Abstract No. 43)

18. Chung, K. Comparison between native Korean and Korean-American perception of Asian faces. (HSDM pre-doctoral research project, 1999)

19. Cruikshank, D. The relation of perceived facial to body morphology. (HSDM pre-doctoral research project, 1999) (See Abstract No. 49)

20. Thai, T. Influence of stimulus characteristic variables on perception of morphing faces. (HSDM Thesis, awarded Magna Cum Laude Honors in Special Field, 1999-2002) (See Abstract No. 46)

21. Jabbs, K. Lateralization of oral pathology. (HSDM pre-doctoral research project, 2000-2001)

22. Zionic, A. Knowledge and attitudes of Colorado and Florida dental health professionals about eating disorders. (2000-2002) (See Abstract No. 58)

23. Chung, KW. Cross-validation of the anthropometric bases of classification of Asian female faces as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. (HSDM Thesis, awarded Cum Laude Honors in Special Field, 2001 (See Abstract No. 47)

b. Postdoctoral
1. Ghose, LJ. An evaluation of sibling support in a dental treatment situation. (M.D.S., Tufts University, 1965) (See Pub. No. 21 and Abstract No. 19)
2. Riis, DN. A psychophysical test of interdental thickness discrimination. (M.S., Tufts University, 1968) (See Pub. No. 30)

3. Schutt, HE. An experimental study of preferences for denture tooth form and arrangement (M.D.S., Tufts University 1970)

4. Cohen, L. Post-doctoral student and resident in dental ecology/dental public health, (1972-1975, HSDM/HSPH) Now Professor at University of Maryland.

5. Kaplis, N. Post-doctoral student and resident in dental ecology/dental public health, (1972-1975, HSDM/HSPH)

6. Silversin, J. Post-doctoral student and resident in dental ecology/dental public health, (HSDM, 1973-1975) Now faculty member at Harvard University.

7. Warren, R. Post-doctoral student and resident in dental ecology/dental public health, (1973, HSDM) Former Dean, Meharry University Dental School; Now Assistant Director for Minority Health at Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA.

8. Hershon, LE. Determinants of facial profile self-perception (Post-doctoral Thesis in Orthodontics, Harvard/Forsyth Program, 1974). Now Associate Professor, Medical College of South Carolina. (See Pub. No. 43)

9. Nornoo, D. Development of quantitative index of perceived relative to objective need for dental treatment. (Post-doctoral student and resident in dental ecology/dental public health, 1974, HSDM) Now residing in Ghana. (See Abstract No. 27)

10. Belton, DE. Psychological problems of the physically handicapped patient. (HSDM Thesis, 1975) (Post-doctoral student and resident in dental ecology/dental public health, 1975, HSDM) (See Pub. No. 44)

11. Silberman, S. The effect of dental education on personal values of students and faculty and the standardization of value profiles of dental students and dental faculty (HSPH and HSDM Thesis, 1975) Post-doctoral student and resident in dental ecology/dental public health, 1972-75, HSDM/HSPH. Now Professor and Chairman at University of Mississippi.

12. Schaub, RMH. Dentists' perception of their patients anxiety (PhD requirement, doctoral dissertation, Univ. of Groningen, 1982) Hospital Administrator, The Netherlands, Univ. of Groningen Medical Center, The Netherlands, and former Dean, Univ. of Groningen Dental School. (See Abstract No. 33)

13. Haxton, JM. Quantitative measurement of toleration of deviations of facial appearance (Post-doctoral Thesis in Pediatric Dentistry, HSDM, 1984) (See Abstract No. 32)

14. Kitay, DR. Computer animated imaging to determine discrepancies between objective and subjective profile measures (Post-doctoral Thesis in Orthodontics, HSDM, 1993) (See Pub. No. 74)

15. Arpino, V. An assessment of facial profile preference of surgical patients using video simulated orthognathic surgery. (Post-doctoral Masters Thesis in Oral Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, 1996) (See Pub. No. 70)

16. Hier, L. Comparison of lip position in males and females using computer animated imaging. (Post-doctoral Masters Thesis in Oral Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, 1997) Now Assistant Professor at Univ. of Illinois at Chicago and Univ. of Florida. (See Pub. No. 69)

17. Mejia, MC. Esthetics preferences of Mexican Americans for facial profiles (Post- doctoral Masters Thesis in Oral Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Dentistry, 2000) (See Abstract No. 48)

18. Reluga, K. Perception of self and others' profiles using computer imaging. (Post-doctoral Thesis, Stony Brook University, 2001) (See Abstract No. 53)

19. Schack, K. Craniofacial anthropometrics and perceived personality attributes (Post-doctoral Master's Thesis, HSDM, 2002).

20. Friedman, L. Self-perception of right- versus left-facing facial profiles. (Post-doctoral Master's Thesis, HSDM, 2000-2003)

21. Park, YS. The profile preference and aesthetic values of frontal anthropometrics of the Korean American adult orthodontic patients. (Post-doctoral Master's Thesis, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry, 2003) (See Abstract No. 61)

22. McKoy, JL. Facial profile preferences of African-American females before and after orthodontic treatment. (Post-doctoral Master's Thesis, University of Illinois at Chicago, College of Dentistry, 2003; See Abstract No. 60))

23. Rasoulinejad, Z. Influence of vertical dimension on perceived protrusiveness and attractiveness. (Post-doctoral Thesis, Stony Brook University, 2002-2003)

c. Undergraduate
1. Hilzenrath, S. The relation of judgments of individual features to judgments of attractiveness. (A.B. Honors, Brandeis University 1963) Now faculty member at HSDM
2. Tomec, KL. The relationships between body image, physical effectiveness, femininity and self esteem in female athletes. (Senior Thesis, Brown University, 1992)

3. Weaver, S. Eating disorders in the female athlete. (Senior Thesis, Brown University, 1993)

4. Johansen, S. Coaches' perception of ideal body type/image of athletes. (Senior Thesis, Brown Univ., 1994) (Abstract No. 56)

5. Roberts, S. A critical examination of child life services at Hasbro Children's Hospital. (Senior Thesis, Brown University, 1995)

6. Roberts, J. Differences among the body images of black and white females. (Senior Thesis, Brown Univ., 1996) (Abstract No. 36)

7. Reddy, V. Body image in American Samoan women. (Senior Honors Thesis, Brown University, 1995)