makes sense... research shows with violins, the vibrations of the string are transfered to the bridge which then "rocks" side to side making the top vibrate. because of the graduation (thinner wood) around the perimeter of the top (just like on a carved mandolin) the top flexes and moves, thus moving the the air inside the instrument. the difference with violins is, of course the sound post which additionally transfers the vibration of the top to the back as well. so the whole box moves the air out the f holes. almost all of the sound emanates from the top and back... the f holes more or less just allow the air to move in and out and equalize the pressures. allowing for more flex, more flex more sound.
Mandolins, i presume work much the same way. That's what Gibson was trying to archive when he started making carved top mandolins, anyway.
I"ve often wondered tho, why do arch top mandolins not have a sound post?
it's a box with strings. If it's a well made box, It'll play?