Washington, (Agencies): A new study has found that teenagers are more likely to engage in risk-taking activities such as binge drinking, careless driving and even committing a crime when they are in a company.

Temple University in Philadelphia’s researchers have found that teens are five times more likely to be in a car accident when in a group than when driving alone, and they are more likely to commit a crime in a group.

When the brain activity of a group of teenagers was analysed, the researchers found that they make decisions with inherent risks alone.

"We know that in the real world, teenagers take more risks when with their friends. This is the first study to identify the underlying process," said Dr Laurence Steinberg, a developmental psychologist and co-author of the study.

"Preventable, risky behaviours -- such as binge drinking, cigarette smoking and careless driving -- present the greatest threat to the well-being of young people in industrialized societies," he was quoted as saying by LiveScience.

The researchers for their study, used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to looked at brain activity in young adults and adults as they made decisions in a simulated driving game.

In the process of research, the participants were forced to make a decision about whether to stop at a yellow light when they came to an intersection or run through the intersection and risk colliding with another vehicle.

Taking the risk to run through the yellow light offered the reward of moving through the intersection more quickly, but also the consequence of a crash, which added a significant delay.

While it was found that the adolescents and older participants behaved comparably while playing the game alone, the dolescents who knew that their friends were watching took a greater number of risks.

These new findings were published in the journal Developmental Science.