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  1.  37
    The Cultural Evolution of Prosocial Religions.Ara Norenzayan, Azim F. Shariff, Will M. Gervais, Aiyana K. Willard, Rita A. McNamara, Edward Slingerland & Joseph Henrich - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39:1-86.
    We develop a cultural evolutionary theory of the origins of prosocial religions and apply it to resolve two puzzles in human psychology and cultural history: the rise of large-scale cooperation among strangers and, simultaneously, the spread of prosocial religions in the last 10–12 millennia. We argue that these two developments were importantly linked and mutually energizing. We explain how a package of culturally evolved religious beliefs and practices characterized by increasingly potent, moralizing, supernatural agents, credible displays of faith, and other (...)
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  2.  52
    The Origins of Religious Disbelief.Ara Norenzayan & Will M. Gervais - 2013 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17 (1):20-25.
  3.  11
    Override the Controversy: Analytic Thinking Predicts Endorsement of Evolution.Will M. Gervais - 2015 - Cognition 142 (C):312-321.
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  4.  17
    Parochial Prosocial Religions: Historical and Contemporary Evidence for a Cultural Evolutionary Process.Ara Norenzayan, Azim F. Shariff, Will M. Gervais, Aiyana K. Willard, Rita A. McNamara, Edward Slingerland & Joseph Henrich - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39.
    In our response to the 27 commentaries, we refine the theoretical claims, clarify several misconceptions of our framework, and explore substantial disagreements. In doing so, we show that our framework accommodates multiple historical scenarios; debate the historical evidence, particularly about “pre-Axial” religions; offer important details about cultural evolutionary theory; clarify the termprosociality;and discuss proximal mechanisms. We review many interesting extensions, amplifications, and qualifications of our approach made by the commentators.
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  5.  34
    The Evolution of Religious Misbelief.Ara Norenzayan, Azim F. Shariff, Will M. Gervais, Ryan T. McKay & Daniel C. Dennett - 2009 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 32 (6):531.
    Inducing religious thoughts increases prosocial behavior among strangers in anonymous contexts. These effects can be explained both by behavioral priming processes as well as by reputational mechanisms. We examine whether belief in moralizing supernatural agents supplies a case for what McKay & Dennett (M&D) call evolved misbelief, concluding that they might be more persuasively seen as an example of culturally evolved misbelief.
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