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Ideas of reference are held by people who are unduly self-conscious, where an individual experiences events and perceives objects in his environment as having a special significance for himself. The subject cannot help feeling that people are noticing him e.g. in restaurants, in lifts, in buses etc.
Ideas of reference differ from delusions in that insight is retained. The ideas are recognised by the subject to be feelings that originate from himself and though he is unable to stop these feelings he realises that he is no more noticed than other people.