Dr. Kurt Freund, whose research into human sexuality was considered among the most groundbreaking of the century, has died at his home in Toronto, the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry said Monday. He was 82.
Freund, who had lung cancer, committed suicide Wednesday, his family said.
He conducted pioneering research into sexual arousal. His most influential achievement was the development in the 1950s of phallometric testing -- a method now used routinely to assess sexual arousal among pedophiles and other male sex offenders.
Born in Czechoslovakia in 1914, Freund lost most of his family in the Holocaust.
He conducted much of his pioneering work while based in Prague from 1945 to 1968, when he fled the country after the failed revolt against communist rule.
Freund was among the first experts to conclude that attempts to alter sexual orientation by means of behavior therapy or psychotherapy were futile, and his work contributed to the repeal of Czechoslovak laws that criminalized homosexual behavior.