The effect of Instagram Usage and Instagram Knowledge on Cognitive Skills: exploring critical thinking and source evaluation abilities.

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In a rapidly changing digital landscape, marked by the ubiquity of information and concerns about fake news, this study addresses the gap in understanding the cognitive drivers essential for discerning non-credible content and sources within the realm of social media.This research investigates the impact of Instagram usage and knowledge about Instagram on Individuals' critical thinking and source evaluation abilities in the context of news consumption on social media. The hypotheses posit that high Instagram use leads to low critical thinking and source evaluation abilities, while high Instagram knowledge enhances these cognitive skills. A sample of 118 participants underwent a comprehensive examination, viewing Instagram posts related to the conflict between Palestine and Israel, and assessing both content and source credibility. Results indicate that Instagram usage has no significant impact on critical thinking and source evaluation abilities. However, participants with higher Instagram knowledge demonstrated superior critical thinking and source evaluation skills. The study challenges traditional assumptions about negative effects of high social media usage on critical thinking and highlights the paramount role of platform knowledge. It suggests that understanding the underlying dynamics of social media, such as algorithms, is crucial for navigating the digital landscape and detecting false information. The findings hold implications for digital media literacy programs with its focus on knowledge in shaping cognitive skills in the age of information warfare.
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