Nicolas Chevalier

Chancellors Fellow - Lecturer

  • Psychology
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details

Address

Street

Room S28, Psychology Building

City
7 George Square, Edinburgh
Post code
EH8 9JZ

Availability

  • Any questions? Please send me an email to arrange a meeting. Talk to you soon!

Background

I received my Ph.D. in Psychology in 2008 from the University of Provence (Aix-Marseille, France; now Aix-Marseille University). I then worked as a post-doctoral research associate at the University of Nebraska (Lincoln, NE, United States) from 2009 to 2011 and the University of Colorado (Boulder, CO, United States) from 2011 to 2013.

Research interests

While working on a project or assignment, one may need to prevent thinking of something else and ignore the temptation to check emails and facebook. Efficient control over thoughts, actions and emotions will help to stay on task and get it done. Unlike adults, children tend to be “all over the place”, not exerting cognitive control effectively. Yet, emerging cognitive control during childhood is one of the best predictors of academic achievement and later life outcomes such as health, income, or criminal records. My work uses behavioral indices, eye-tracking, event-related brain potentials (ERPs), and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to address how preschoolers and school-age children develop increasingly efficient cognitive control. I am especially interested in how children determine what they need to do and how to best implement control based on environmental information, available cognitive means and previous experience.

Interested in executive function development?

Check out our Frontiers Research Topic with 39 thought-provoking contributions.

Wee Science

We are a group of researchers at the University of Edinburgh who study how babies and children learn to think and talk. We are always looking for families and schools to take part in our fun studies. Please visit our website and come see us soon!

Publications

Morey, C. C., Mareva, S., Lelonkiewicz, J., & Chevalier, N. (in press). Gaze-based rehearsal in children under 7: A developmental investigation of eye movements during a serial spatial memory task. Developmental Science.

Chevalier, N. (in press). Willing to think hard? The subjective value of cognitive effort in children. Child Development.

Chevalier, N., Dauvier, B., & Blaye, A. (in press). From prioritizing objects to prioritizing cues: A developmental shift for cognitive control. Developmental Science.

Chevalier, N., & Clark, C. A. C. (2017). Executive function in early and middle childhood. In S. A. Wiebe & J. Karbach (Eds), Executive function. Development and across the life span (pp. 44-58). London, UK: Routlege.

Doebel, S., Barker, J. E., Chevalier, N., Michaelson, L. E., Fisher, A. V., & Munakata, Y. (2017). Getting ready to use control: Advances in the measurement of young children's use of proactive control. PLoS ONE, 12(4): e0175072. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0175072

Clark, C. A. C., Chevalier, N., Nelson, J. M., James, T. D., Garza, J. P., Choi, H-J., & Espy, K. A. (2016). The changing nature of executive control in preschool: I. Executive control in early childhood. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 81(4), 7-29.

Chevalier, N., & Blaye, A. (2016). Metacognitive monitoring of executive control engagement during childhood. Child Development, 87(4), 1264-1276.

Nelson, J. M., James, T. D., Chevalier, N., Clark, C. A. C., & Espy, K. A. (2016). Structure, measurement, and development of preschool executive control. In J. A. Griffin, P. McCardle, & L. Feund (Eds.), Executive function in preschool age children: Integrating measurement, neurodevelopment, and translational research, pp. 91-113. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Moriguchi, Y., Chevalier, N., & Zelazo, P. D. (2016). Editorial: Development of executive function during childhood. Frontiers in Psychology, doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.00006 [Editorial - open access]

Doucette, M. D., Kurth, S., Chevalier, N., Munakata, Y., & LeBourgeois, M. K. (2015). Topography of sigma power during sleep is associated with processing speed in preschool children. Brain Sciences, 5(4), 494-508. [open access]

Chevalier, N. (2015). The development of executive function: Toward more optimal coordination of control with age. Child Development Perspectives, 9(4), 239-244.

Chevalier, N. (2015). Executive function development: Making sense of the environment to behave adaptively. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 24(5), 363-368.

Chevalier, N., Kurth, S., Doucette, M., Wiseheart, M., Deoni, S. C. L., Dean 3rd, D. C., O'Muircheartaigh, J., Blackwell, K. A., Munakata, Y., & LeBourgeois, M. K. (2015). Myelination is associated with processing speed in early childhood: Preliminary insights. PLoS ONE, 10(10): e0139897. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0139897 [open access]

Wiebe, S. A., Clark, C. A. C., de Jong, D. M., Chevalier, N., Espy, K. A., & Wakschlag, L. (2015). Prenatal tobacco exposure and self-regulation in early childhood: Implications for developmental psychopathology. Development and Psychopathology, 27, 397-409.

Chevalier, N., Martis, S. B., Curran, T., & Munakata, Y. (2015). Metacognitive processes in executive control development: The case of reactive and proactive control. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 27(6), 1125-1136.

Chevalier, N., Kelsey, K. M., Wiebe, S. A., & Espy, K. A. (2014). The temporal dynamic of response inhibition in early childhood: An ERP study of partial and successful inhibition. Developmental Neuropsychology, 39(8), 585-599.

Chevalier, N., James, T. D., Wiebe, S. A., Nelson, J. M., & Espy, K. A. (2014). Contribution of reactive and proactive control to children’s working memory performance: Insight from item recall durations in response sequence planning. Developmental Psychology, 50(7), 1999-2008.

Chevalier, N., Chatham, C. H., & Munakata, Y. (2014). The practice of going helps children to stop: The importance of context monitoring in inhibitory control. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 143(3), 959-965.

Lucenet, J., Blaye, A., Chevalier, N., & Kray, J. (2014). Executive control and language across the lifespan: Does labeling improve reactive control? Developmental Psychology, 50(5), 1620-1627.

Blaye, A., & Chevalier, N. (2014). Contrôle exécutif et développement [Executive control and development]. Psychologie Française, 59, 1-3. [Editorial]

Chevalier, N., Blaye, A., & Maintenant, C. (2014). La représentation du but dans le contrôle exécutif chez l’enfant [Goal representation in children’s executive control]. Psychologie Française, 59, 5-20.

Chevalier, N., Huber, K. L., Wiebe, S. A., & Espy, K. A. (2013). Qualitative change in executive control during childhood and adulthood. Cognition, 128, 1-12.

Tulsky, D. S., Carlozzi, N., Chevalier, N., Espy, K. A., Beaumont, J., & Mungas, D. (2013). V. NIH Toolbox Cognition Battery (CB): Measuring working memory. Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 78(4), 70-87.

Clark, C. A. C., Sheffield, T. D., Chevalier, N., Nelson, J. M., Wiebe, S. A., & Espy, K. A. (2013). Charting emergent trajectories of executive control with the Shape School. Developmental Psychology, 49(8), 1481-1493.

Munakata, Y., Michaelson, L., Barker, J., & Chevalier, N. (2013). Executive functioning during infancy and childhood. Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development. [English - Français]

Dauvier, B., Chevalier, N., & Blaye, A. (2012). Using finite mixture of autoregressive GLMs to explore variability in children’s flexibility in a task-switching paradigm. Cognitive Development, 27, 440-454.

Chevalier, N., Sheffield, T. D., Nelson, J. M., Clark, C. A. C., Wiebe, S. A., & Espy, K. A. (2012). Underpinnings of the costs of flexibility in preschool children: The roles of inhibition and working memory. Developmental Neuropsychology, 37(2), 99-118.

Cragg, L., & Chevalier, N. (2012). The processes underlying flexibility in childhood. The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65(2), 209-232.

Chevalier, N., Wiebe, S. A., Huber, K., & Espy, K. A. (2011). Switch detection in preschoolers’ cognitive flexibility. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 109, 353-370.

Blaye, A., & Chevalier, N. (2011). The role of goal representation in preschoolers’ flexibility and inhibition. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108, 469-483.

Wiebe, S. A., Sheffield, T. D., Nelson, J. M., Clark, C. A. C., Chevalier, N., & Espy, K. A. (2011). The structure of executive function in 3-year-old children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 108, 436-452.

Fang, H., Johnson, C., Chevalier, N., Stopp, C., Wiebe, S., Wakschlag, L. S., & Espy, K. A. (2010). Using propensity score modeling to minimize the influence of confounding risk related to prenatal tobacco exposure. Nicotine & Tobacco Research, 12, 1211-1219

Chevalier, N. (2010). Les fonctions exécutives chez l’enfant : concepts et développement [Executive functions in children: Concepts and development]. Canadian Psychology/Psychologie Canadienne, 51(3), 149-163.

Chevalier, N., Blaye, A., Dufau, S., & Lucenet, J. (2010). What visual information do children and adults consider while switching between tasks? Eye-tracking investigation of cognitive flexibility development. Developmental Psychology, 46(4), 955-972.

Chevalier, N., & Blaye, A. (2009). Setting goals to switch between tasks: Effect of cue transparency on children's cognitive flexibility. Developmental Psychology, 45, 782-797.

Chevalier, N., Dauvier, B., & Blaye, A. (2009). Preschoolers’ use of feedback for flexible behavior: Insights from a computational model. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 103, 251-267.

Chevalier, A., & Chevalier, N. (2009). Influence of proficiency level and constraints on viewpoint switching: A study in web design. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 21 (3), 126-137.

Chevalier, N., & Blaye, A. (2008). Cognitive flexibility in preschoolers: The role of representation activation and maintenance. Developmental Science, 11(3), 339-353.

Chevalier, N., & Blaye, A. (2008). Différents profils d'erreurs à une épreuve de flexibilité cognitive chez l'enfant préscolaire [Multiple error types in a new task of cognitive flexibility for preschoolers]. In E. Loarer, J.-L. Mogenet, F. Cuisinier, H. Gottesdiener, P. Mallet, & P. Vrignaud (Eds.), Perspectives différentielles en psychologie (pp. 235-238). Rennes : Presses Universitaires de  Rennes.

Blaye, A., Chevalier, N., & Paour, J.-L. (2007). The development of intentional control of categorization behaviour: A study of children's relational flexibility. Cognition, Brain, Behavior, 11(4), 791-808.

Chevalier, N., & Blaye, A. (2006). Le développement de la flexibilité cognitive chez l'enfant préscolaire : enjeux théoriques [The development of cognitive flexibility at preschool age: Theoretical issues]. L'Année Psychologique, 106(4), 569-608.

Chevalier, N., & Blaye, A. (2006). False-belief representation and attribution in preschoolers: Testing a graded-representation hypothesis. Current Psychology Letters: Behaviour, Brain, & Cognition, 18(1).

Undergraduate teaching

I teach Cognitive Development in Children in year 3. The course focuses on how children think and how it changes with age, emphasizing the interactions among cognitive development, brain development, and the environment during childhood.

Postgraduate teaching

I teach the EEG/ERP section of Specialist Techniques in Psychological Research.

Office hours

Any questions? Please send me an email to arrange a meeting. Talk to you soon!

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?

Yes

Areas of interest for supervision

I supervise undergraduate dissertations, MSc and PhD students. I welcome PhD students whose projects are in line with and/or complement my research interests. I also co-supervise students with Dr Bonnie Auyeung.

Current post-doc

Current PhD students supervised

  • Aurélien Frick (co-lead) - Psychology
  • Maki Kubota (second) - Linguistics and English Language
  • Chiara Magaddino (co-lead) - Psychology
  • Simona Perrone (second) - Linguistics and English Language
  • Ilayda Turk (second) - Clinical Psychology

Research summary

Executive function development, cognitive development, developmental cognitive neuroscience

Funding

Work in my lab has been generously funded by the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland, the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Current research interests

While working on a project or assignment, one may need to prevent thinking of something else and ignore the temptation to check emails and facebook. Efficient control over thoughts, actions and emotions will help to stay on task and get it done. Unlike adults, children tend to be “all over the place”, not exerting cognitive control effectively. Yet, emerging cognitive control during childhood is one of the best predictors of academic achievement and later life outcomes such as health, income, or criminal records. My work uses behavioral indices, eye-tracking, event-related brain potentials (ERPs), and near-infrared spectroscopy (NIRS) to address how preschoolers and school-age children develop increasingly efficient cognitive control. I am especially interested in how children determine what they need to do and how to best implement control based on environmental information, available cognitive means and previous experience.