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Lets say there are two persons denoted $p_1$ and $p_2$ who share some common friends denoted $N$. $p_1$ is told that $N$ of his friends are interacting with $p_2$. This generates an inherent curiosity in $p_1$ that "something's happening with $p_2$" and he explores it.

Is there a cognitive psychology theory to explain this process?

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Just to clarify, are you drawing a distinction between number of shared friends and number of shared friends who are interacting with a particular person? Also, in what sense is $p_2$ focal? Are there particular contexts of this that you are considering? –  Jeromy Anglim Sep 27 '12 at 8:10
People are gathering information about the people they know, about the people their friends know and about fully unknown people as well. Just for clarification, you're looking for theory than distinguishes those 3 cases? –  FolksLord Oct 4 '12 at 16:35
@JeromyAnglim Thanks for the response. Well, I am trying to find out if there exists a theory to explain what evokes curiosity. Lets say - I have not interacted with you on Facebook for a particular length of time for various reasons. However, my interest may arise when I notice a message on my timeline which says "5 of your friends are sending messages to Jeromy". It increases my curiosity level as a person as Jeromy's and my mutual friends are interacting and I want to be part of this little secret. Am I more clear now? –  Dexter Oct 4 '12 at 20:21
@volkerjaan Well I am unable to understand those cases but let me put it this way - lets say you and I are connected on cogsci stackexchange but do not interact. I receive a notification in my inbox which says "You know what 10 of your friends who are also friends with Volkerjaan" i.e. mutual friends are speaking to Vokerjaan. This results in an increase in curiosity and I say to myself "what is so special going on with Volkerjaan that so many of my friends are interacting. I better check him out now." It is only but natural to have such curiosity. I hope this helps! –  Dexter Oct 4 '12 at 20:27
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1 Answer

Social psychology explains the mechanisms of social behaviour of people. Social curiosity is the social behaviour. I find nothing so special in being interested what your friend's friends are doing. It is just a step between being very interested in what people we stay in constant touch are doing and what the people we meet only occasionally are doing. Both are the part of the same mechanism of collecting information about people, which allows to interact more effectively (building stronger social bounds).

In more abstract way, the systems theory explain how such social behaviours are rational for an agent. The social agents are more effective because of cooperation. Not all types of agents are able to cooperate, but building a system with factors similar to human (natural tendence to cooperate, building cooperation bonds via conversation and common free-time actions) you would find effective for such systems to collect as many information about other agents as possible, concentrating more on the agents you are more probable to interact.

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> I find nothing so special in being interested what your friend's friends are doing. @volkerjaan This is not the same situation. Pardon me if I'm not being clear because I am not active in this field. Here's an example - Consider a situation where volkjeraan and mcenley are friends. Now, there are x, y and z who are mutual friends of volkerjaan and mcenley. One day volkerjaan gets a message saying 3 of your mutual friends with mcenley - x,y and z - are interacting with mcenley. Now volkerjaan looks at this message and says "Hey, there's something happening here". What is this called? –  Dexter Oct 6 '12 at 8:22
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