In the article, we accentuate the topicality of the idea of stimulating cognitive activity as a didactic means of mental education. We analyze a comprehensive approach to the problem of mental training in the pages of “Soviet pedagogy” and establish that educational impact on pupil carried the team considering his individual characteristics. Additionally, we consider the problems of mental development and suggest that effective cognitive activity and therefore mental, depends on the active search and practice, as they facilitate the development of mental activity. Stimulation of pupil’s cognitive activity and independence as a didactic means of mental education assign individualized incentives. We note the predominant role of moral incentives and minor role of other incentives do not provide a complete understanding of the versatility of the cognitive activity stimulating process as an important aspect of mental development and education of the individual. It is stressed that positive point in the works devoted to stimulation of the cognitive activity and intellectual development of students, is the allocation of the individualization of stimuli, but at the same time the mechanism of stimulation has not been revealed to full extent. It is also noted the predominance of the role of moral stimuli and the undervaluing of other types of stimuli that does not give a complete understanding about the versatility of the process of stimulating cognitive activity as an important aspect of mental development and education of the individual. We conclude that mental education problem was studied primarily in the context of a comprehensive harmonious development of person in the Soviet pedagogical theory and practice. In the pages of the “Soviet pedagogy” the important area of mental education is the stimulation of cognitive activity and independence. The mental education includes the mechanism of mental training, comprehensive study of teaching methods use and educational influence tools.