This study examines the extent to which instructions to selfexplain vs. other-explain a text lead readers to produce different forms of explanations. Natural language processing was used to examine the content and characteristics of the explanations produced as a function of instruction condition. Undergraduate students (n = 146) typed either self-explanations or other-explanations while reading a science text. The linguistic properties of these explanations were calculated using three automated text analysis tools. Machine learning classifiers in combination with the features were used to predict instruction condition (i.e., self- or other-explanation). The best machine learning model performed at rates above chance (kappa = .247; accuracy = 63%). Follow-up analyses indicated that students in the self-explanation condition generated explanations that were more cohesive and that contained words that were more related to social order (e.g., ethics). Overall, the results suggest that natural language processing techniques can be used to detect subtle differences in students' processing of complex texts.