OBJECTIVE: Suicidal ideation has been related to cognitive rigidity whereas suicidal behaviour itself was associated with specific executive deficits. Yet it remains unclear if a distinct cognitive suicidal phenotype does exist. The aim of the present study was to further investigate the role of suicidal thinking for the neuropsychological performance in depressive suicide attempters. METHOD: Depressive inpatients after a recent suicide attempt, who either had present suicidal ideation (n = 14) or not (n = 15) and healthy controls (n = 29) were recruited. The groups were assessed by means of executive tasks designed to capture impulsive decision-making, and with verbal memory and attention tests. Self-rating measures of impulsivity and aggression were further applied. RESULTS: Only patients with current suicidal ideation showed executive dysfunctions with impaired decision-making being the most salient. Verbal memory and attention were reasonably intact in all patients. All patients reported increased aggression. CONCLUSION: Suicidal ideation is clearly associated with impaired cognitive performance. Our results suggest that executive deficits seen in depressive suicide attempters have a state-dependent component.