Scientology cult spams Melbourne with dubious ‘personality test’

The Church of Scientology has been blitzing Melbourne with a personality questionnaire, the Herald Sun reports:

The high-profile church recently sent 200 personality tests to homes throughout the state. But experts have queried the credibility of the questionnaire, saying it has no scientific basis.

The test, called the Oxford Capacity Analysis, is used worldwide in scientology recruitment and contains a number of bizarre questions. […]

Independent Senator Nick Xenophon slammed the group, saying it had no shame when it came to trying to lure unsuspecting people to the church.

While the term ‘Oxford’ may have you think otherwise, the OCA test has nothing to do with the respected British university.

In an essay about the cult’s recruitment tool, Chris Owen writes, “To aid his official Enquiry into Scientology in 1971, Sir John Foster asked a group of eminent psychologists to visit British Scientology orgs to take the OCA. The Working Party was composed of a clinical psychologist, a consultant in psychological selection, and a university lecturer in psychology, all members of the governing Council of the British Psychological Society (incorporated under Royal Charter in 1965) and distinguished experts in their field. This is what they reported:”

It should be noted that the Oxford Capacity Analysis is not a personality test known in psychological circles; it is not distributed by reputable test agencies in this country; there is no research literature available about it, nor is it listed in the Mental Measurements Year Book which is internationally accepted as the authoritative source on psychometric devices.

While any one of these points does not in itself indict a psychometric instrument, the failure of the Oxford Capacity Analysis to meet all of them does, in our opinion, constitute an extremely strong case for assuming it to be a device of no worth.

The scientific value and useful nature of the profile apparently derived from completion of the Oxford Capacity Analysis must consequently be negligible.

We are of the opinion that the Oxford Capacity Analysis and the profiles derived from its completion are constructed in such a manner as to give the appearance of being adequate psychometric devices, whereas, in fact, they totally fail to meet the normally accepted criteria.

Taking the procedure as a whole, one is forced to the conclusion that the Oxford Capacity Analysis is not a genuine personality test; certainly the results as presented bear no relation to any known methods of assessing personality or of scaling test scores. […more…]
– Source: Enquiry into the Practice and Effects of Scientology

The Herald Sun reports that

Prof Nicholas Haslam, of the School of Psychological Sciences at the University of Melbourne, said the Oxford Capacity Analysis test was not an accepted personality test.

“It is a tool associated with the Church of Scientology that has no standing in the professional community of psychology practitioners and researchers, that lacks basic evidence of validity, and that often has been criticized for how it is mis-used,” he said.

As these resources show, Scientology thrives on quackery:

Medical claims within Scientology’s secret teachings
Scientology verses Medicine
The healing claims of Scientology
What happened to Lisa McPherson?

Scientology is evil; its techniques are evil; its practice is a serious threat to the community, medically, morally, and socially; and its adherents are sadly deluded and often mentally ill… (Scientology is) the world’s largest organization of unqualified persons engaged in the practice of dangerous techniques which masquerade as mental therapy.

– Source: Justice Anderson, Supreme Court of Victoria, Australia, quoted at What judges have to say about Scientology

In addition it should be noted that Scientology is behind a front group called the Citizens Commission on Human Rights — a hate group that fights against alleged abuses in psychiatry and psychology. (And yes, ‘human rights’ is another term misused by the cult in an attempt to gain a sheen of respectability).

Research resources on Scientology

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Religion News Blog posted this on Friday April 29, 2011.
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