Slingerland, Edward, Joseph Henrich, and Ara Norenzayan. “The evolution of prosocial religions.” In Cultural Evolution: Society, Technology, Language and Religion, edited by Peter J Richerson and M. H. Christiansen. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013.
Norenzayan, A., J. Henrich, and E. Slingerland. “Religious prosociality: a synthesis.” In Cultural Evolution: Society, Technology, Language and Religion, edited by P. J. Richerson and M. H. Christiansen, 365-380. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013.
Laurin, K., A. F. Shariff, J. Henrich, and A. C. Kay. “Outsourcing punishment to God: beliefs in divine control reduce earthly punishment.” Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Science 279, no. 1741 (2012): 3272-3281.Abstract

The sanctioning of norm-transgressors is a necessary-though often costly-task for maintaining a well-functioning society. Prior to effective and reliable secular institutions for punishment, large-scale societies depended on individuals engaging in 'altruistic punishment'-bearing the costs of punishment individually, for the benefit of society. Evolutionary approaches to religion suggest that beliefs in powerful, moralizing Gods, who can distribute rewards and punishments, emerged as a way to augment earthly punishment in large societies that could not effectively monitor norm violations. In five studies, we investigate whether such beliefs in God can replace people's motivation to engage in altruistic punishment, and their support for state-sponsored punishment. Results show that, although religiosity generally predicts higher levels of punishment, the specific belief in powerful, intervening Gods reduces altruistic punishment and support for state-sponsored punishment. Moreover, these effects are specifically owing to differences in people's perceptions that humans are responsible for punishing wrongdoers.

Gervais, Will M, Aiyana K Willard, Ara Norenzayan, and Joseph Henrich. “The cultural transmission of faith: Why innate intuitions are necessary, but insufficient, to explain religious belief.” Religion 41, no. 3 (2011): 389-410. PDF
Atran, S., and J. Henrich. “The Evolution of Religion: How Cognitive By-Products, Adaptive Learning Heuristics, Ritual Displays, and Group Competition Generate Deep Commitments to Prosocial Religions.” Biological Theory 5, no. 1 (2010): 1-13. PDF
Henrich, J., J. Ensminger, R. McElreath, A. Barr, C. Barrett, A. Bolyanatz, J. C. Cardenas, et al.Markets, religion, community size and the evolution of fairness and punishment.” Science 327, no. 5972 (2010): 1480-1484. Audio File PDF Supplement Science Perspective by Karla Hoff
Gervais, W., and J. Henrich. “The Zeus Problem:Why Representational Content Biases Cannot Explain Faith in Gods.” Journal of Cognition and Culture 10, no. 3-4 (2010): 383-389. PDF
Shariff, A., A. Norenzayan, and J. Henrich. “The Birth of High Gods: How the cultural evolution of supernatural policing agents influenced the emgerence of complex, cooperative human societies, paving the way for civilization.” In Evolution, Culture and the Human Mind, edited by Mark Schaller, Ara Norenzayan, Steve Heine, Toshi Yamaguishi, and Tatsuya Kameda, 119-136. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2009. PDF
Henrich, Joseph. “The evolution of costly displays, cooperation and religion: Credibility enhancing displays and their implications for cultural evolution.” Evolution and Human Behavior 30, no. 4 (2009): 244-260. PDF