Scientists now believe they know why.
Research by University College London suggests adolescents process the emotions of embarrassment and guilt differently to adults, The Times has reported.
Brain scan studies identified clear differences in brain activity when teenagers and adults were asked to think about social emotions.
While teenagers and adults use the same parts of the brain when processing emotions such as disgust and fear, which do not involve the opinions of other people, the scans showed marked differences when thinking about embarrassment or guilt.
Adolescents engage part of the brain called the medial prefrontal cortex while adults do not, the study, led by Stephanie Burnett and Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, found.
"If teenagers have more activity in this part of the brain when they are thinking about being embarrassed, it might explain why they are more susceptible to embarrassment," Dr Blakemore told the newspaper.
It is uncertain whether the brain activity was a cause or an effect of heightened sensitivity to embarrassment.
Dr Blakemore said the findings, published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, could have implications for medical conditions such as anorexia and bulimia, which are linked to self-image.
The study recruited 19 girls aged between 10 and 19 and 10 women, aged between 22 and 32
Subjects had their brains scanned, using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), while they were asked to imagine a range of emotional experiences.
Examples designed to evoke embarrassment included thinking about your father dancing in the supermarket, and dribbling food down your top while eating with a friend.
Other thoughts were designed to invoke guilt, disgust and fear as controls.
Edited by Belle., 06 October 2008 - 12:19 AM.