He was born in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia in 1906, the son of Albert Piddington. He accepted the offer by the Auckland University College in October 1949 to chair their new anthropology department, and arrived in Auckland with his wife and son in September 1950.
Piddington was awarded the T. K. Sidey Medal, an award at irregular intervals for "outstanding scientific research", by the Royal Society of New Zealand in 1959. In 1962, the Royal Society awarded Piddington the Hector Memorial Medal, at the time their highest award. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1963. He retired as professor emeritus in January 1972. He died at Takapuna, Auckland, in 1974 and was survived by his wife.
The psychology of laughter: a study in social adaptation, Figurehead, 1933.