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Abstract

The Oxford Capacity Analysis (OCA) is a personality test that is given out for free by the Church of Scientology. Both the terms "Oxford Capacity Analysis" and "(OCA)" are registered trademarks belonging to the Religious Technology Center, which is the head group of the Church of Scientology, since it controls all the trademarks and copyrights to all the scripture. The OCA test is offered by the Church of Scientology online, at its local churches, and sometimes at local fairs, carnivals, and other public events. This test was created by psychologist Julia Lewis. The Church of Scientology adapted her original test and originally called it the American Personality Analysis. It was later changed to Oxford Capacity Analysis. Since the University of Oxford has nothing to do with this test, it is speculated the name change was only made to give it the appearance of credibility. The OCA has been used as a recruiting tool by the Church of Scientology (CoS) since 1953. The test is used by the Church of Scientology as a tried and true method to get new members interested in paying for additional services and books.

What the Church of Scientology says about the OCA

On the introduction page that the Church of Scientology has about the OCA it says:

  • "The churches of Scientology are extending an invitation to you to receive an OCA Personality Test and evaluation free of any charge or obligation.
  • Your personality has everything to do with your income, your future, your personal relationships, and your life.
  • A test of this kind would normally cost you $500.00 and up. It is offered to you here free of charge as a public service.
  • If you are not happy with life, you can find out why."

On its page called Your Personality Determines Your Future the CoS writes:

"Unhappy with your job? Maybe there's a career you're better suited for. Marriage problems? Differences in personality may be the reason for your disputes. Sick all the time? Maybe you have a disease-prone personality. Stressed? Find out the personality factors causing it. Not achieving what you want? Discover your true potentials."

The book, What Is Scientology? (1992 edition), says this about the OCA:

"This test accurately measures the preclear's estimation of ten different personality traits. These rise markedly in auditing, reflecting the preclear's gains. Preclears report being calmer, more stable, more energetic and more outgoing as a direct result of auditing and scores on the OCA furnish corroborative data....
A vital tool in Expanded Dianetics is the Oxford Capacity Analysis. An important use of this profile is to improve specific personality traits with Expanded Dianetics procedures. The OCA helps locate deep-seated pockets of aberration which can then be addressed and erased with these precise auditing techniques."
  • What Is Scientology? (1992), pp. 163, 220]


  • Sample questions from the OCA

    The OCA is composed of 200 questions to which you may answer "Yes", "No", or "Maybe". The following is a brief selection of the typical questions:

    1. Do you browse through railway timetables, directories or dictionaries just for pleasure?
    2. Do you get occasional twitches of your muscles, when there is no logical reason for it?
    3. Do you enjoy telling people latest scandal about your associates?
    4. Do you consider the modern prisons without bars system "doomed to failure"?
    5. Do you rarely suspect the actions of others?
    6. Do you often make tactless blunders?
    {Oxford Capacity Analysis, copyright 1997 Church of Scientology Intl. (CSI). Dianetics, Scientology and OCA are trademarks and service marks owned by Religious Technology Center}


    How the results are scored and presented

    The Church of Scientology on its page called About the test says:

    "The Oxford Capacity Analysis(TM) test (OCA(TM)) is a professional personality test that uses 200 specially designed questions to provide an in-depth look at your personality. It will accurately show you both your strong points - so you can take advantage of them - and your problem areas - those things that are blocking your true potentials and happiness in life. Your results will be displayed on a graph like the one shown here, which rates you against 20 different personality traits."

    The Church of Scientology says on its page called How you receive your results:

    When you complete your test a graph of your personality profile will be shown to you immediately, on-line.
    While the graph shows you your rating on 20 different personality traits, it is the interrelationship of these points, which provides additional layers of insight visible only to the skilled evaluator.
    For a full professional evaluation of your personality graph contact the location closest to you on the following pages.

    After you complete the OCA and have it analyzed by a CoS staff member you will be given back a personality profile graph listing your supposed IQ and your score in personality characterists such as Stable, Happy, Composed, Certainty, Active, Aggressive, Responsible (Causative), Correct Estimation, Appreciative, and Comm Level.

    The scale on the graph of each trait ranges from +100 to -100, with three main bands marked "Desirable State" (+100 to +30), "Normal" (+30 to 0) and "Unacceptable State" (0 to -100). In the middle are two shaded bands, "Acceptable under perfect conditions" (about +32 to about +6) and "Attention Desirable" (about +6 to about -18). A legend at the foot of the graph sheet warns that a point below the latter band indicates "Attention Urgent".

    Each question has a score that is calculated for the "Yes", "No", or "Maybe" responses, much like you might find in a similar test in a ladies' magazine. So for example, on question #3 about reading train schedules, one might receive 6 points for a "Yes" answer, 4 points for a "Maybe", and 3 points for a "No" response. Each question has its own scale for each answer, but how it was decided how to grade each response is not clearly known. It is supposed that L. Ron Hubbard himself decided how each of the questions should be scored, since he ultimately claimed the editing and copyright for the test.

    It has been reported by numerous former staff members that nearly all people that take the OCA are told that they have aberrations in their personalities that can only be fixed by taking prescribed Scientology or Dianetics courses. Many times the OCA is offered at a location outside the church, such as a fair, carnival, or other show where they can set up a tent. Sometimes at these locations they will not inform the person that the test has anything to do with the Church of Scientology, even after prescribing the courses. In these situations the courses are promoted as psychotherapy. Sometimes the connection with Dianetics is made, but the CoS staff neglects to mention that Dianetics and the CoS are connected in that Dianetics is a core part of the CoS scripture.


    Critical thought about the OCA

    A major study was performed in 1971 in the United Kingdom at the request of the House of Commons to discover whether or not the medical claims promoted by Scientology were valid and whether or not the church posed a danger to the people. This study was called Enquiry into the Practice and Effects of Scientology Report by Sir John Foster, K.B.E., Q.C., M.P. Published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London December 1971. In chapter 5 of this report Foster writes:

    "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. The booklet itself might produce genuine scores but these are not the scores presented on the profile. The legend 'produced and edited by the Staff of the Hubbard Association of Scientologists International' which appears on the cover is totally inappropriate to a personality measure - such an instrument is not 'edited', it is developed through painstaking research. The validity of the OCA booklet itself is therefore in doubt.
    No reputable psychologist would accept the procedure of pulling people off the street with a leaflet, giving them a 'personality test' and reporting back in terms that show the people to be 'inadequate', 'unacceptable' or in need of 'urgent' attention. In a clinical setting a therapist would only discuss a patient's inadequacies with him with the greatest of circumspection and support, and even then only after sufficient contact for the therapist-patient relationship to have been built up. To report back a man's inadequacies to him in an automatic, impersonal fashion is unthinkable in responsible professional practice. To do so is potentially harmful. It is especially likely to be harmful to the nervous introspective people who would be attracted by the leaflet in the first place. The prime aim of the procedure seems to be to convince these people of their need for the corrective courses run by the Scientology organisations."

    Scientology critic, Chris Owen researched the OCA and reported his findings in a report entitled The Personality Test, which he last updated on 10 February 1997. The conclusions of his study were that:

    "...it seems evident that the Personality Test is:
    • Rigged so that it will produce poor results for a non-Scientologist.
    • Without scientific recognition or validity.
    • Sold in a manner deliberately calculated to imbue the testee with the maximum amount of worry and concern, a tactic most likely to work on the weak and vulnerable.
    • Used to pressurise the testee into buying expensive courses.

    Regardless of controversies associated with the use of the OCA, it is plainly an effective recruiting tool. What Is Scientology? (1992 edition) states that 18% of current Scientologists joined as a consequence of taking the OCA. Even if one uses the much lower figures for Scientology membership cited by critics, that still means that since the introduction of the OCA, several hundred thousand people have been recruited by that means.


    References:

    • John Foster's 1971 report on OCA - http://www.xenu.net/archive/audit/fosthome.html
    • Operation Clambake presents Oxford Capacity Analysis - http://www.xenu.net/archive/oca/
    • The Personality Test by Chris Owen - http://www.xenu.net/archive/oca/oca.html
    • PDF version of the OCA - Scientology.org - http://www.scientology.org/oca/eng/perstest.pdf
    • Online version of the OCA - Scientology.org - http://www.scientology.org/oca/ocapg1.scgi
    • How you receive your results - Scientology.org - http://www.scientology.org/oca/eng/result.htm
    • About the test - Scientology.org - http://www.scientology.org/oca/eng/about.htm
    • Your Personality Determines Your Future - Scientology.org - http://www.scientology.org/oca/eng/future.htm
    • A study about the OCA - http://www.antisectes.net/testoca-english.htm
    Just in case anyone notices, I also put much of the same information in the Wikepedia article by the same title.

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