Why "psych"? Maybe Miriam is a chaplain whose job it is to psych people up to better face the hazards of the journey and the perils of Planet.
Incidentally, my take on Miriam is entirely different from the usual view. We know from history that fundamentalist societies can be very pro-science. I don't recall Oliver Cromwell ever objecting to any kind of research; he certainly wasn't Amish when it came to military advances. Likewise in the 30 years' war between Protestants and Catholics in Europe: a fundamentalist conflict if ever there was one.
So why is Miriam's research slow? And what does it mean when a faction (whether Morgan or Yang) goes "fundamentalist"?
Remember how the other faction leaders complain about Zakharov and about you when you use Knowledge. They talk about Zak and you _lacking ethics_. Zak pursues "unfettered research". What I think all this means is that there are NO ethics committees.
Whereas in Power and Wealth, ethics committees provide some checks against unethical research practices (Dr Mengele, anyone?), in Knowledge there are none.
In Fundamentalist, and with Miriam and Domai, ethics committees oversee every aspect of scientific research, and they're vbery proactive, anticipating most potential abuses, and requiring advance justification for every step taken in a research program.
Moreover, the whole society is very alert and watchful, as they are persistently urged to be. This is also why spies find it very, very hard to infiltrate: any stranger and any strange behavior is immediately the talk of the neighborhood, and people are keen to see that it quickly reaches the ears of the authorities.
Medical patients are very safe under a Fundamentalist Miriam: there's no way an unscrupulous doctor is going to avoid being dobbed in if he even begins to misbehave.
Covering up offences is unthinkable. Every victim knows that society is on his/her side.
But a Fundamentalism of this sort is NOT a Police State: because if the Government steps over the line of acceptable behavior, it's in immediate, sustained and severe trouble, too. There are standards to uphold, and neither fear nor favor will sway people's view(s) of what is ethical or unethical.
However, it's not always easy to tell what an ethical course of action will be in the case of new discoveries. That's why the ethics committees are so deliberate in their proceedings, and seek such a wide range of opinions before approving any new research.
In Miriam's case, ethics are of primary importance in their own right.
In Domai's society, the memory is strong of being cheated and mistreated by the more privileged members of their former societies, so they are very wary of anyone who proposes something they do not understand.
This way of viewing Miriam's and Domai's societies is, I am convinced, much more consonant with the personalities of their leaders as presented by the SMAC/SMAX backstories.