Todd Heatherton

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Todd F. Heatherton is a former professor in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Dartmouth College who retired following an external investigation into sexual harassment allegations made against him which recommended his firing. He is banned from entering Dartmouth College's campus.[1] He was an Associate Editor of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience. His recent research uses a social brain science approach, which combines theories and methods of evolutionary psychology, social cognition, and cognitive neuroscience to examine social behavior.[2] He was President of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in 2011.[3]

Sexual misconduct allegation and dismissal[edit]

In October 2017, Heatherton was placed on paid leave from Dartmouth as the result of a "sexual misconduct" investigation launched by Dartmouth College. The New Hampshire attorney general, the Grafton county attorney's and sheriff's offices, and the Hanover police opened a criminal investigation in response.[4][5][6] New York University revoked his visiting scholar affiliation with their Department of Psychology.[7] Heatherton's attorneys have released a statement saying that he is cooperating with the investigation and that, "he has engaged in no sexual relations with any student."[8] The statement also says that "Dr. Heatherton’s year away from Dartmouth is wholly unrelated to the investigation, as he was awarded a Senior Faculty Grant in October 2016 to facilitate a long-planned sabbatical, and he has utilized it for the 2017-2018 academic year. His sabbatical leave began on July 1, before he learned of the investigation."[8] On June 14, 2018, the President of Dartmouth College announced that Heatherton's tenure had been revoked and that he was terminated effective immediately, though he is still able to retire with the College.[9] He is banned from entering campus property or attending College events.[1]

The university has not released any specifics of their investigation;[1] however, a tenured professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis alleged that Heatherton groped her at an academic conference in 2002 while she was still a graduate student.[10]


Much of Heatherton's work has concentrated on examining the relationship between adolescent smoking and film[citation needed]. His work has helped to shed light on the strong relationship between children witnessing film's with smoking characters, and the initiation of adolescent smoking. Along with colleagues, Heatherton has helped to isolate risk factors, including access to movies online and low parental restrictions on film, to an increased likelihood of adolescent smoking.[pub 1] He has also conducted research concerning the neurological underpinnings of smoking addiction.[pub 2]

Heatherton has also conducted a great amount of research concerning the risk factors of bulimia nervosa, using the Eating Disorder Inventory. His work has helped to reaffirm perfectionism, low self-esteem, and a negative perceived weight status as risk factors for bulimia, while asserting that age could be a modifier in onset among at-risk individuals.[pub 3] A 20-year longitudinal study has also shown that marriage and children could be a modifier in bulimia in women.[pub 4] His work has also isolated low self-efficacy as a more succinct risk factor for bulimia than the multi-faceted dimension of self-esteem.[pub 5]

Heatherton's recent work has concentrated on the study of social neuroscience.[citation needed]

Selected publications[edit]

  1. ^ Dalton, M.A., Sargent, J.D., Beach, M., Titus-Ernstoff, L., Gibson, J.J., Ahrens, M.B., Tickle, J., & Heatherton, T.F. (2003). Effect of viewing smoking in movies on adolescent smoking initiation: A Cohort Study
  2. ^ Wagner, D.D., Dal Cin, S., Sargent, J.D., Kelley, W.M., & Heatherton, T.F. (2011). Spontaneous action representation in smokers when watching movie characters smoke. Journal of Neuroscience,31, 894-898.
  3. ^ Holm-Denoma, J.M., Gordon, K.H., Bardone, A.M., Vohs, K.D., Abramson, L.Y., Heatherton, T.F., & Joiner, T.E. (2005). A test of an interactive model of bulimic symptomatology in adult women. Behavior Therapy, 36, 311-321.
  4. ^ Keel, P. K., Baxter, M. G., Heatherton, T. F., & Joiner, T. E. (2007). A 20-year longitudinal study of body weight, dieting, and eating disorder symptoms. Journal of Abnormal Psychology, 116, 422-432.
  5. ^ Bardone-Cone, A.M., Abramson, L.Y., Vohs, K.D., Heatherton, T.F., & Joiner, T.E., Jr. (2006). Predicting bulimic symptoms: An interactive model of self-efficacy, perfectionism, and perceived weight status. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44, 27-42.


  1. ^ a b c "The Dartmouth Senior Staff" (14 Jun 2018). "Heatherton retires following sexual misconduct allegations". The Dartmouth. Retrieved 14 Jun 2018.
  2. ^ "Todd F. Heatherton Home Page". 2013-02-14. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  3. ^ "Previous Officers of SPSP". SPSP. Retrieved 10 April 2013.
  4. ^ Hoisington, Sam (31 Oct 2017). "3 Dartmouth Professors Are Target of State Attorney General's 'Sexual Misconduct' Investigation". The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved 31 Oct 2017.
  5. ^ "State Investigates Sexual Misconduct Allegations". Dartmouth News. 31 Oct 2017. Retrieved 31 Oct 2017.
  6. ^ "Dartmouth College Professors Investigated for Alleged Sexual Misconduct". The New York Times. 31 Oct 2017. Retrieved 31 Oct 2017.
  7. ^ "NYU Fires Dartmouth Visiting Scholar After Allegations of Sexual Misconduct". Washington Square News. 7 Nov 2017. Retrieved 1 Dec 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Todd Heatheron Statement". Valley News. 31 October 2017. Retrieved 2 Dec 2017.
  9. ^ Hanlon, Phil (14 June 2018). "Dartmouth Faculty Disciplinary Process Update". Retrieved 16 November 2018.
  10. ^ Engber, Daniel (13 Nov 2017). "Three Dartmouth Psychology Professors Are Under Investigation for "Sexual Misconduct"". Slate. Retrieved 1 Dec 2017.