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  • E-mailKarenleigh.Overmann@uib.no
  • Phone+47 55 58 88 79
  • Visitor Address
    Christies Gate 12
    5015 BERGEN
  • Postal Address
    Postboks 7807
    5020 BERGEN

I am interested in how societies become numerate and literate by using and modifying material forms over generations of collaborative effort, the effect this elaborational mechanism has on conceptual content, how material forms become increasingly refined to elicit specific behavioral and psychological responses, and what this might augur about the future of human cognition. I use the Material Engagement Theory of Lambros Malafouris as my theoretical framework. In this view, cognition is embodied, embedded, extended, enacted, and evolving (5E). I have also written on how Neandertal cognition differed from that of our ancestors, as well as the literary works of Jane Austen.

Journal articles
  • Overmann, Karenleigh Anne; Wynn, Thomas. 2019. On tools making minds: An archaeological perspective on human cognitive evolution. Journal of Cognition and Culture. 19: 39-58. doi: 10.1163/15685373-12340047

More information in national current research information system (CRIStin)

Books

  • 2019, The material origin of numbers: Insights from the archaeology of the Ancient Near East (Gorgias Studies in the Ancient Near East 14), Gorgias Press*

* This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 785793, as well as the Clarendon Fund, University of Oxford.

 

Edited volumes and special journal issues

  • 2019, Squeezing minds from stones: Cognitive archaeology and the evolution of the human mind, Oxford University Press (with Frederick Coolidge)
  • 2014, Creativity, cognition and material culture, Pragmatics & Cognition, John Benjamins (with Lambros Malafouris and Chris Gosden)

 

Journal articles

  • 2019, On tools making minds: An archaeological perspective on human cognitive evolution, Journal of Cognition and Culture (with Thomas Wynn)*

* This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 785793.

  • 2019, Materiality and human cognition, Journal of Archaeological Theory and Method (with Thomas Wynn)
  • 2019, Concepts and how they get that way, Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
  • 2018, Constructing a concept of number, Journal of Numerical Cognition
  • 2018, The cultural challenge in mathematical cognition, Journal of Numerical Cognition (with Sieghard Beller, Andrea Bender, Stephen Chrisomalis, Fiona Jordan, Geoffrey Saxe, and Dirk Schlimm)
  • 2018, Updating the “abstract–concrete” distinction in Ancient Near Eastern numbers, Cuneiform Digital Library Journal
  • 2017, Thinking materially: Cognition as extended and enacted, Journal of Cognition and Culture
  • 2016, Beyond writing: The development of literacy in the Ancient Near East, Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • 2016, Number concepts are constructed through material engagement: A reply to Sutliff, Read, and Everett, Current Anthropology
  • 2016, The false dichotomy: A refutation of the Neandertal indistinguishability claim, Journal of Anthropological Sciences (with Thomas Wynn and Frederick Coolidge)
  • 2016, The role of materiality in numerical cognition, Quaternary International
  • 2015, A comparative study of group behavioral activation and cognitive therapy in reducing subsyndromal anxiety and depressive symptoms, Iranian Journal of Psychiatry (with Mehdi Soleimani, Parvaneh Mohammadkhani, Behroz Dolatshahi, Hamid Alizadeh, and Frederick Coolidge)
  • 2015, Numerosity structures the expression of quantity in lexical numbers and grammatical number, Current Anthropology
  • 2015, Teeth, tools and human becoming, Journal of Anthropological Sciences
  • 2014, Finger-counting in the Upper Palaeolithic, Rock Art Research
  • 2013, Cartesian dualism, real and literary madness in the Regency, and the mind and madness in Austen’s novels, Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal
  • 2013, Human species and mating systems: Neandertal–Homo sapiens reproductive isolation and the archaeological and fossil records, Journal of Anthropological Sciences (with Frederick Coolidge)
  • 2013, Material scaffolds in numbers and time, Cambridge Archaeological Journal
  • 2013, On the nature of numerosity and the role of language in developing number concepts, Current Anthropology (with Frederick Coolidge)
  • 2012, Numerosity, abstraction, and the emergence of symbolic thinking, Current Anthropology (with Frederick Coolidge)
  • 2012, Prevalence of ADHD and its subtypes in male and female adult prison inmates, Behavioral Sciences and the Law (with Brian Cahill, Frederick Coolidge, Daniel Segal, Kelli Klebe, and Peter Marle)
  • 2011, The prehistory of number concept, Behavioral and Brain Sciences (with Thomas Wynn and Frederick Coolidge)
  • 2010, Recursion: What is it, who has it, and how did it evolve? Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Cognitive Science (with Frederick Coolidge and Thomas Wynn)
  • 2009, Darcy and Emma: Austen’s ironic meditation on gender, Persuasions: The Jane Austen Journal

 

Book chapters

  • 2019, Materiality and the prehistory of number, in Squeezing Minds from Stones, Oxford University Press
  • 2019, Introduction: Cognitive archaeology at the crossroads, in Squeezing Minds from Stones, Oxford University Press (with Frederick Coolidge)
  • 2018, Visuospatial integration: Paleoanthropological and archaeological perspectives, in The evolution of primate social cognition, Springer (with Emiliano Bruner, Enza Spinapolice, and Ariane Burke)
  • 2018, Situated cognition, in International encyclopedia of anthropology: Anthropology beyond text, Wiley-Blackwell (with Lambros Malafouris)
  • 2017, Bootstrapping ordinal thinking, in Cognitive models in Palaeolithic archaeology, Oxford University Press (with Thomas Wynn, Frederick Coolidge, and Klint Janulis)
  • 2017, Materiality and numerical cognition: A Material Engagement Theory perspective, in Cognitive models in Palaeolithic archaeology, Oxford University Press
  • 2015, Cognitive archaeology and the cognitive sciences, in Human paleoneurology, Springer (with Frederick Coolidge, Thomas Wynn, and James Hicks)
  • 2013, The archaeology of number concept and its implications for the evolution of language, in The evolutionary emergence of human language: Evidence and inference, Oxford University Press (with Thomas Wynn and Frederick Coolidge)
  • 2013, The Lion-Man and the evolution of the human mind (Der Löwenmensch und die Entwicklung des menschlichen Bewusstseins), in The return of the Lion Man: History, myth, magic (Die Rückkehr des Löwenmenschen: Geschichte–Mythos–Magie), Ulmer Museum (with Thomas Wynn, Frederick Coolidge, and Martha Bright)
  • 2012, The evolution of working memory, in Working memory: The connected intelligence, Psychology Press (with Frederick Coolidge and Thomas Wynn)

 

Reviews

  • 2015, Dynamics of learning in Neanderthals and modern humans by Takeru Akazawa et al. (editors), Journal of Archaeological Science (with Frederick Coolidge)
  • 2014, Cultural development of mathematical ideas by Geoffrey B. Saxe, Journal of Cognition and Culture

 

Proceedings

  • 2017, Archaeology and cognitive science, 39th Cognitive Science Society, London, England
  • 2016, Literacy as cognitive change emerging from material engagement, 38th Cognitive Science Society, Philadelphia, USA
  • 2016, Literacy as cognitive change emerging from material engagement, NCCR eikones, University of Basel, Switzerland
  • 2014, Numbers and time: Materiality and numerical cognition, 20th European Association of Archaeologists, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
  • 2014, Numeric cognition from the perspective of Material Engagement Theory, 36th Cognitive Science Society, Quebec City, Canada
  • 2013, The neuropsychology of numbers and the Paleolithic record, 3rd European society for the Study of Human Evolution, University of Vienna, Austria
  • 2012, Cognitive ‘barriers’, synchronic development, and autism (poster), 2nd European society for the Study of Human Evolution, University of Bordeaux, France (with Frederick Coolidge and Thomas Wynn)
  • 2012, Development and psychometric properties of a new scale: The Self-Report Scale for Schizoid Behaviors, 82nd Rocky Mountain Psychological Association, Reno, USA (with Peter Marle, Alisa Estey, and Laura Finan)
  • 2011, Numerosity, abstraction and the evolution of symbolic thinking (poster), 119th American Psychological Association, Washington DC, USA (with Frederick Coolidge)

 

Data

  • 2016, Unpublished token catalogue, University of Oxford&*

* This project has received funding from the Clarendon Fund, University of Oxford.

I earned my doctorate in archaeology in 2016 at the University of Oxford as a Clarendon scholar. I have a master's in psychology (2013) and a bachelor's in anthropology, philosophy, and English (2010) from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS). In addition to my postdoc research at the University of Bergen, I am on the faculty of the UCCS Center for Cognitive Archaeology. I am the proud grandma of two granddaughters, one 16 (my daughter's daughter) and the other coming up for 2 (my son's daughter). In my picture you see the top of the younger one's head; as you might see, she is a tad ginger. I like this picture, which was taken by my son, because it catches me in something other than my habitual scowl. My nickname is Leee. Yes, I do spell it with three e's, though the last one is silent, which is really no sillier than the silent "igh" on the end of Karenleigh.

I am currently researching the role of materiality in numerical cognition at the University of Bergen, Norway under an MSCA individual fellowship awarded by the EU (project 785793). The project aims to compare Ancient Near Eastern numeracy and material artifacts for counting to those of Oceania (Polynesia, Micronesia, and Melanesia), with the hope of gaining new insights into numerical cognition, both ancient and modern.