3Arrogance Inspires Confidence
Vader is not a humble man. The first time he gets face-to-face with Luke he tells him, "Join me, and together, we can rule the galaxy as father and son!" When they meet again in the next film, with equal confidence Vader says, "You underestimate the power of the Dark Side. If you will not fight, then you will meet your destiny."
Hell, just look at the way the guy stands. He fills the room.
This is how to win friends and influence people.
Luke tells Vader and the Emperor that overconfidence is their weakness. He's totally wrong.
And It Works Because ...
First of all, just standing like Darth Vader raises your testosterone levels, according to studies. It's evolution -- acting like the "alpha" in the group with your body language actually creates changes to let you assume the role -- physically.
Sort of like how dressing in a cop uniform is enough to get free drugs out of people.
And while we associate pride and arrogance with lazy douche bags who are just bound to get their comeuppance, a study at Northeastern University found that people who had been given an ego boost before setting out to complete a task worked longer and harder than their more humble peers. Their arrogance made them more effective.
And not only that, but they were also viewed as more dominant and likable by other participants. Experiments show that as much as we say we hate arrogant or prideful people, when we run across people acting like hot shit, we tend to assume they are.
Hell, "acting like hot shit" is the whole reason for Boba Fett's fame.
So Vader's boastful arrogance also would be instrumental in convincing Star Destroyers full of underlings to do what the fuck he says.
2Doom and Gloom Makes You Smarter
For one thing, they freaking call their cause "the Dark Side." But on top of that, ever see Darth Vader laugh? Or any of his crew members or troops? Ever see any of them smile, even when they're winning?
The Emperor smiles, but he's just generally a positive fella.
Now look at the interior of the Death Star and Star Destroyers. See any decorations? Paintings on the walls, maybe? Any colors other than gray?
Nope, it's dreary gray and black everywhere you go. No joking, no games, no joy.
The Galactic Empire: Sponsored by Xanax.
And It Works Because ...
Sadness makes us better thinkers. Joe Forgas, a psychology professor at the University of New South Wales, set up an experiment that required volunteers to make judgments based on urban myths and rumors. He consistently found that subjects who were considered sadder were more skeptical and able to think critically. Even more unbelievable, Forgas found that people who were sad were more convincing. He and his colleagues set up an experiment where they had sad and happy volunteers write arguments on various issues. Scientists and undergraduate students rated them. Overall, the depressed volunteers created more convincing arguments.
So, operating in an air of oppressive gloom can actually make you more convincing. Might come in handy, like maybe if you're trying really hard to bring someone over to the Dark Side of the Force.
Then, Forgas did another experiment where he tested people's perception and memory outside a shopping mall on seven bright, sunny days and on seven gray, dreary days. People were more perceptive and had better memories when their surroundings were dark and lacking in color. Like the gray of an imperial starship.
A sad stormtrooper is an attentive, more convincing and more thoughtful stormtrooper.
The soldier with nothing to live for doesn't run like a little bitch.