Section 4.1: First Derivatives and Graphs

Increasing and Decreasing Functions

We say that a function f is increasing on an interval (a, b) if f(x2) > f(x1) whenever a < x1 < x2 < b, and f is decreasing on (a, b) if f(x2) < f(x1) whenever a < x1 < x2 < b.

For the interval (a, b), if f' > 0, then f is increasing, and if f' < 0, then f is decreasing.

Critical Numbers

A real number x in the domain of f such that f'(x) = 0 or f'(x) does not exist is called a critical number of f.

Local Extrema

Local Extrema and Critical Numbers

If f(c) is a local extremum of the function f, then c is a critical number of f.

f'(x) < 0, f(x) increasing

c = -4

First Derivative Test for Local Extrema

Let c be a critical number of f [f(c) is defined and either f'(c) = 0 or f'(c) is not defined]. Construct a sign chart for f'(x) close to and on either side of c.

f'(c): 0 ND

Left of c: - +

Right of c: - +

Intercepts and Local Extrema of Polynomial Functions


f(x) = anxn + an-1xn-1 + ... + a1x + a0, an ≠ 0

is a polynomial function of degree n ≥ 1, then f has at most n x intercepts and at most n - 1 local extrema.